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High Tech Elastomeric Running Shoes - Biomechanics Refined!

SpecialChem / Donald Rosato – Jul 12, 2011

Brooks Sports, Inc., the only company in the world that offers footwear and related apparel/accessories exclusively for the runner, recently commercialized Brooks DNA, an innovative, first-of-its-kind cushioning system that adapts to the unique needs of each runner, offering customized cushioning and protection every step of every run. Brooks DNA automatically and physically adapts with each foot strike to the ever-changing amount of force placed on the foot during the run. Brooks DNA is a game-changing materials technology in the world of running. Traditional cushioning systems attempt to work for runners of all shapes and sizes, even though each person’s weight and gait are vastly different from the next. This patented invention was designed to overcome a breakdown of resiliency, or elasticity, when closed cell viscoelastic foams made of ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) and polyurethane (PUR) are subjected to the repeated foot striking/midsole bounce back of distance running.

PolyOne GLS compounded an injection moldable, custom thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) alloy which is a non-linearly viscous material, a SEBS (styrene-ethylene-butadiene-styrene) block copolymer-based material that includes proprietary additives. ASTM F1976 testing showed that the average cushioning improvement from the existing HydroFlow to the state-of-the-art DNA technology was approximately 30 percent to as high as 50 percent versus other traditional systems in use. Visual prototypes were generated quickly on an Objet Geometries Eden 500V 3D printer, which has a build size of 500 x 400 x 200 mm (19.3 x 15.4 x 7.9 in). Running shoe design must also meet environmental demands, including the use of recycled content, avoidance of PVC, and potential degradability.

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