adidas recently released a new pair of energy return running shoes called the Energy Boost. It promises to “change your run forever” by giving the runner high energy return and extremely soft cushioning. Based on this article, adidas is trying to grow their running market which is mainly dominated by ASICS, Brooks and New Balance; and a study done by RMIT not too long ago also revealed that Adidas shoes were not the top choices of most runners.
But it’s not the first time that adidas has come up with a “energy return” shoe. There was the adidas bounce back in 2008/9 which has these ‘bounce’ tubes that goes horizontally across the sole. It would seem logical that those tubes can increase energy return and increase running performance but this study here showed that it would only work if the tubes were rotated by 18 degrees towards the rear thus transferring 34% of the vertical energy (from the foot landing) horizontally forward. Interestingly, the Adidas bounce shoes can no longer be found on the official Adidas website, and only on Ebay or Amazon.com.
Then adidas came up with a variation to their bounce design and called it the Bounce Titan and even had a Porsche Design version. However the same group that did the previous study also found in a subsequent study that this new design was still not optimum for running. Try and google adidas Bounce Titan and you will find that it suffered the same fate as the original bounce -> Ebay or Amazon.
Apart from adidas, Reebok developed the Zigtech while Mizuno has the Wave Prophecy. Both work on a slightly similar alternative to “bouncing”, that is “Waves”; and they basically promise to do the same thing – return energy or propel you forward and provide cushioning. Well, no tests (in the lab) has been done on them as far as I know, although if you google, you will find many wear reviews like this or this. Generally, they are positive.
Going back to the adidas Energy Boost shoes, their innovation is in the material of the sole that is developed by adidas partner, BASF. Based on this article and the video, the material likens to “thousands of small energy capsules“, that “stores and unleash energy” with every stride. Interesting. But I wonder how it really stacks up to other energy return shoes.
Maybe a showdown test should just be done with all these different “energy returning” shoes using a standard test like this one developed at RMIT, or the KMT test developed with Newton running, both addressing short falls of the existing ASTM test. So if anyone from adidas is reading this, feel free to drop me a note if you would like a test organised. 🙂
In fact I would add another shoe to the test list – on running – a swiss performance running shoe. Although they don’t promote energy return in their shoe, the “cushioned landing” and “barefoot takeoff” still makes an interesting concept that just can’t be left out!
Lastly, for those who would like to find out more about energetics of human movement and sports shoes or biomechanical concepts, do check out this article and this article.
Thanks for reading!