From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Running Shoe Has a Mind of Its Own

Feet hurt or just feeling a fickle about the terrain on which you want to run? Adidas may have the shoe for you: one that automatically adjusts to the surface you’re running on.

It may be the biggest advancement yet in running shoe ergonomics. The shoe, deemed “1,” does all of its adjustments automatically and continually, relying on a sensor, magnet and cable system that, says the manufacturer, acts like a human reflex nerve. The sensor is located under the heel, the magnet is at the bottom of the midsole. Upon each impact, the sensor measures the distance from top to bottom of the midsole to gauge the compression. From there, it determines, through approximately 1000 readings per second, how much cushioning is being used versus how much is needed. The cable system then makes any adjustments.

In addition to terrain, the shoe also factors in the runner’s weight, the impact and running style so that even a change in running styles mid-run will result in a different level of cushioning. Says the manufacturer, the runner never notices anything more than a comfortable run, regardless of the terrain.

The shoe took three years to design. Engineers first had to learn about the optimal cushioning levels for runners and then determine what type of technology would be needed to get the shoe to adjust itself.

The adidas “1” retails for $250

Sources: Adidas; New York Times