Foam technology that takes your running to the next level

Published 30th September 2020 by mymo

Depending on when you started running, foam technology in running shoes may be something you have just always been used to. 

Foam cushioning has been finding its way into our trainers for many years now to give us a softer, bouncier, more comfortable run. We take a look at the different foam technology the big brands are currently using in their most famous shoes.

Adidas Boost

Boost was the technology that led the way, first developed in 2013. Boost technology contains thousands of tiny capsules of foam. Adidas Boost created a new type of midsole that promised to deliver an ‘uptick of energy with every stride’ and made Adidas Boost a must-have shoe of the moment. Where comfort and energy return had once been seen as contradictory, this technology showed runners that having both was definitely possible.

Asics Flytefoam

The idea for Flytefoam came from a scene in an old Japanese TV programme where a ball was dropped on the floor and bounced back up. Designers wanted the same bounce back in the technology of the new Asics material and a ‘polymer’ was developed including grid-like sections of sole and spaces of air in a block structure. The technology includes tiny springs in the structure that propel runners back up encouraging the shoe to return to its original shape after every stride

Nike Zoom X

Nike have led the way with cushioning since the days of Air technology, first recognised in the Air Max (1) in 1987. Nike Air gave shoes the recognisable ‘bubble’. Nike continued to develop through their React technology, a one-piece foam that was decidedly lightweight and able to find its way into mileage as well as racing shoes, before giving runners the Zoom X foam. Zoom X uses ‘pressurised air and tightly stretched fibres’ to make innovative and explosive cushioning.The development of this technology combined with a carbon plate has created a record breaking piece of shoe technology in the 4% and NEXT% that other brands have worked hard to keep up with.

New Balance Fresh Foam

While early foam technology used EVA from the beginning, New Balance did something innovative with the development of Fresh Foam, by adding a chemical compound and using an injection-molded heat process in its creation. The result was surprising to many wearing their shoes for the first time as the high spongy look of Fresh Foam was actually much lighter than some imagined. Fresh Foam runs through the full length of the midsole to give cushioning that is light: in the newest version Fresh Foam 1080X, the shoe weighs just over 311 grams.

Under Armour Hovr

Under Armour have been working hard to break their way to being one of the top most recognisable running brands, and in 2017 the development of Hovr helped to propel them forward. Hovr promises a zero gravity feel with maximum energy return through a foam with super soft bounce developed through a web-type design that is responsive and allows the shoe to quickly return to its original shape.

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