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Material Matters: adidas BOOST Technology

Date: July 27 2016

By: Adam Jane

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Sneaker brands love to introduce us to the latest advancements in the footwear world. If you compare some of the shoes out there these days you’ll notice the big brands are engaged in a technological arms race in a quest for sneaker world domination. In recognition of the pioneering spirit we’ve decided to break down some of these features, week by week, in our new Material Matters series. Each edition will talk about some teched out aspect of the sneaker game, new and old, to help build a bigger picture of what goes on behind the mesh curtain of the industry.

Since the release of the Energy BOOST in 2013 adidas have been tweaking the technology through iterations like the Pure BOOST and UltraBOOST, although the basic makeup remains the same after all these years. The BOOST sole uses a material called thermoplastic polyurethane (or TPU) to form its bundle tightly packed sole nuggets. Just like the more traditional midsole material, EVA, TPU compresses under pressure for shock absorption – what’s unique about the adidas tech is the ability to instantly bounce back to its original shape. By moulding together lots of small capsules, they are allowed to ping back into shape quicker and easier than one big slab of sole could. The frisky foam is able to retain these properties despite temperature variation, being almost impervious to the elements, where EVA has been observed to stiffen in the cold.

As you might have noticed, adidas are the only company in the world who produce this foam. It’s not an element of exclusivity that’s often related to running shoes but they do actually have limits as to how much they can produce. Next time there’s a BOOST drop that you struggle to get your hands on, consider that there may be a global BOOST shortage. After the release of the Energy BOOST James Carnes, Head of Design for Sport Performance at adidas, was quoted as saying that ‘there’s not enough of it on the planet.’

With the recent success of adidas’ various UltraBOOST offerings, it’s likely that the spongy soles continue hitting the shelves for a while to come. If you haven’t already experienced the BOOST then we suggest giving it a go, there really is nothing like it.

In recent Material Matters we’ve looked at Nike FlyknitCotton Canvas and Nike Shox.


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