Causes of Higher Risk of Stress Fractures in Female Runners

Press Release:

PHILADELPHIA – Running is one of the most popular forms of exercise, enjoyed by a broad range of age groups and skill levels.  More women are running recreationally compared to men; specifically 54% of runners are female as indicated by a 2018 National Runner Survey. Women, however, are at least twice as likely as men to develop stress fractures, an injury that impacts around 20% of runners. However, information is still lacking on how to best prevent and treat stress fractures in women. New pilot research from Jefferson suggests physiological factors that could be included in routine screening for stress fracture risk, as well as changes in training approach to aid in prevention.

The researchers examined physiological differences that might contribute to increased risk of stress fractures in a study published in Sports Healthand also surveyed women’s perception of risk and behaviors that contribute to stress fractures in a separate study published in Physical Therapy in Sport

“Most of the literature focuses on elite runners or athletes,” says Therese Johnston, PT, PhD, MBA, Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and first author of both studies. “It was important for us to capture the regular or average female runner in these studies, and the main goal was to see how we can prevent a first or subsequent fracture.”

Both studies surveyed the same group of 40 female recreational runners, age 18-65 years. 20 women had a history of running-related stress fractures, and they were matched according to age and running abilities with 20 women with no history of stress fractures. The two studies aimed to assess what contributed to risk of stress fractures, from the physiological, such as – bone structure and density, muscle mass, hormonal status, to ones influenced by training routine, such as training intensity, nutrition, insufficient strengthening, and ignoring pain.

“This mixed methods approach provides a richer context and a more detailed picture of the practices and risks that contribute to stress fractures in every-day women runners,” says Jeremy Close, MD, associate professor in family and sports medicine and one of the lead authors on the research. “It also tells us how perceived risk informs physiological risk.”

For the study focused on physiological factors, the subjects underwent a comprehensive blood panel that examined levels of hormones like estradiol and testosterone, vitamins and minerals important for bone health such as vitamin D and calcium, and bone markers. They also underwent dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) to test for bone mineral density. The researchers found that while there was no difference in estradiol hormone levels between the two groups, women who had a stress fracture history reported menstrual changes or irregular periods as a result of their training, or during peak training times. The blood panel also examined markers for bone formation and resorption, and pointed to increased bone turnover in the group of women with stress fractures. They also found through the DXA testing that women with a history of stress fractures had lower hip bone mineral density compared to women with no history of stress fractures, indicating decreased bone strength that could increase risk of injury.

“DXA for bone density and blood testing for bone markers are not routinely performed in this population – they are usually reserved for post-menopausal women – so we may be missing important clinical indicators for stress fractures in these women,” says Dr. Johnston. “While the link between menstrual changes and bone strength is unclear, our findings also indicate that asking female runners about any menstrual irregularities during heavier training times is important during routine screening.”

For the study investigating women’s self-perception of risk, interviews were conducted with the goals of finding out which factors women thought were associated with stress fractures or maintaining bone health while running. Several themes emerged from these interviews. Specifically, compared to women without stress fractures, women with histories of stress fractures had increased their training load more quickly. Also, while they knew of the importance of nutrition and strengthening exercises, women with a history of stress fracture more often reported not having or making the time for a balanced diet and proper cross-training to complement their running regimen.

Finally, women in this group reported pushing through the pain and running despite an injury more often than those without stress fracture. “In the interviews, it sounded like these women had trouble knowing which pain was normal, and which pain was abnormal. They also reported not always receiving appropriate guidance from healthcare providers on how to progress running safely,” says Dr. Johnston.

“It is clear that there needs to be more guidance from healthcare providers for woman runners on how to prevent stress fractures” says Dr. Close. “It can be very frustrating for these women who are on a path to wellness, but are impeded by an injury that can take several months to heal. If they don’t have the proper guidance on how to return to running safely, they risk a second injury.”

“We hope that our findings will encourage more thorough and routine screening in women runners for bone density and strength,” says Dr. Johnston, “as well as a comprehensive education plan on how to balance running with cross-training, and how to interpret pain cues from the body, to help women differentiate between normal aches and pains and indicators of a serious injury.”

Dr. Johnston plans to continue this research by studying women with acute stress fractures as they start running again, in order to identify factors related to successful or unsuccessful return to running following a stress fracture. The study will include Dr. Close as well as Marc Harwood, MD, service chief in the department of non-operative sports medicine at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute.

The work was funded by the Thomas Jefferson University Office of the Provost. The authors report no conflict of interest

Global Leader In Recovery Footwear, OOFOS, Accepts The American Podiatric Medical Association Seal Of Acceptance Across All Products

The Seal of Acceptance Further Establishes the Brand as a Leader and Innovator in the Footwear Industry

Press Release:

BRAINTREE, Mass., Aug. 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — OOFOS, the global leader in recovery footwear, announces today its full line of products has earned the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Seal of Acceptance, further solidifying them as a pioneer and leader within the recovery footwear category.

The APMA Seal of Acceptance Program recognizes products that have been found to be beneficial to foot health and of significant value when used consistently in a daily foot care program. OOFOS’ full collection is among these products, as all OOFOS styles were found by the committee to promote good foot health, further establishing the therapeutic and health benefits of the brand’s shoes. In receiving the Seal of Acceptance from the APMA, customers and physicians alike are assured that upon purchasing a pair of shoes from OOFOS, they are receiving a product that is of exceptional quality and is manufactured with the consumer’s comfort and well-being in mind.

“This is a huge moment for our brand. It reinforces prior research findings and the benefits of our unique foam technology, which is designed specifically for relief and recovery,” says Steve Gallo, President of OOFOS. “Our mission at OOFOS has always been ‘to make yOO feel better’ and this seal of acceptance by the APMA provides expert validation that our shoes make a difference in the health and wellbeing of our customers day in and day out.”

Made with proprietary OOfoam® technology, OOFOS shoes absorb 37% more impact than traditional foam footwear materials for the perfect blend of cushion and stability, based on a 2018 University of Virginia laboratory study.

The use of the proprietary technology in conjunction with their patented footbed allows the shoes to cradle and support the foot’s arches for more even distribution of pressure across the sole of the foot. The combination has also shown to reduce energy exertion in the ankles by up to 47% when compared to traditional footwear. The APMA committee has further championed this technology through review of the research the brand has done on these footwear components, how the products interact with the human body and the benefits consumers receive compared to traditional footwear.

This seal is just the latest example of how OOFOS is helping yOO recover and feel better with every step. In addition to the APMA Seal of Acceptance, thousands of consumer reviews online rave about the footwear’s positive impact on their lives, including relief of pain due to ailments, bringing comfort to long working hours and maintaining body health for professional athletes. 

“These are the most comfortable slides I’ve ever worn in my life,” says OOFOS brand partner and Pro-Football Hall of Famer, Deion Sanders. This is coming from a dude who is 52, has had three toe surgeries, and is in need of a 4th, these shoes changed the game for me!”

OOFOS is the global leader in recovery footwear, founded by a team of industry veterans looking to help runners and fitness enthusiasts recover better from their workouts. Made with revolutionary OOfoam™ technology, OOFOS are designed to absorb 37% more impact than traditional footwear. They reduce stress on joints to keep anyone, of any activity level, feeling their best. From professional athletes to casual walkers, OOFOS footwear will make your hard-working feet and body feel better – all you have to do is feel the OO. 

ADIDAS Adidas Works With Thousands Of Runners To Create The Revolutionary Adidas Ultraboost 19 – A New Shoe For A New Sport

Press Release:

adidasRunning today unveils the adidas Ultraboost 19, an entirely reimagined and redesigned version of the brand’s iconic leading performance running shoe. adidas designers and product developers worked with thousands of runners from around the world to create the new silhouette, in what was its most ambitious collaboration project ever. The overwhelming feedback from runners was that running is changing, becoming younger and more democratic. With the emergence of city running clubs and fun runs, running is now a sociable sport rather than just something people do on their own. Runners made it clear they wanted a simpler product with fewer pieces but equally high performance. To reflect that, the original adidas Ultraboost was deconstructed and reconstructed from 17 pieces to focus on four key components – Optimized BOOST, Torsion Spring, Primeknit 360 and 3D Heel Frame

  • Optimized BOOST –with 20% more BOOST in the midsole compared to the first-generation adidas Ultraboost, this updated technology brings even more energy return
  • Torsion Spring –a lightweight construction for enhanced support on landing and a snappy transition to propel runners forward
  • Primeknit 360 –feels like a second skin, combining pure comfort with lightweight performance
  • Updated 3D Heel Frame –a stripped-back design cradles the heel, bringing the perfect mix of adaptability and support

Puma Enters New Era With Cushioning Technology XETIC

Press Release:

Global sports brand PUMA, as part of a sponsored research collaboration with MIT Design Lab, has created XETIC, a cushioning technology, which will start a new era by combining the worlds of mechanical cushioning and foam. This ultramodern performance innovation will provide for an excellent comfort for walking and will be first introduced in a new street-ready sneaker called Calibrate Runner.

While the futuristic visible technology of XETIC may look like 3D printing at first, XETIC is not made of plastic, it is foam. XETIC takes its name from “auxetic materials”, structures, which behave in a certain way when they are subjected to mechanical stresses such as compression. For XETIC, this means the cushioning provides an excellent comfort for all wearing occasions.

“PUMA’s innovation department teamed up with MIT Design Lab because we needed their highexpert engineering capabilities,” said Romain Girard, Senior Head of Innovation at PUMA. “MIT has computer simulation possibilities, which enabled us to see the behavior of the material and quickly find the optimal structure for calculated cushioning.”

PUMA and MIT Design Lab worked with an extensive runner community to analyze individual running specifics, such as pressure points, and they then took the data to develop a specifically shaped structure that allows for progressive cushioning. The result was a structure shaped like the horizontal number 8, which is characteristic for the XETIC.

The whole team was delighted with the ability to work on a project that allowed them to explore such a new space and to see all the efforts culminating in the creation of the Calibrate Runner. Over the course of the project qualitative and quantitative user testing was used, a novel finite element analysis simulation, and parametric design to find the perfect pattern, which was named ‘Recurve’.

With its visible XETIC technology, Calibrate Runner has a unique futuristic aesthetic, which will appeal to the techiest of streetwear collectors, while giving athletes access to a new era of cushioning. Straight from the lab, into the future.

A perfect blend of technology, comfort and performance is offered by PUMA x Porsche Design models Xetic M, Xetic L and Xetic M Shift. These models are well rounded delivering maximum performance and luxury in every situation. State of the art fabrics featuring 100% recycle mesh and chrome free leather including a Bloom sockliner  imbue the shoes with a special and exclusive look.

ASICS announces groundbreaking performance face cover that gives runners breathing room to maintain their edge

Press release:

The ASICS RUNNERS FACE COVER has been designed by the ASICS Institute of Sport Science (ISS) specifically for runners with performance, comfort, and protection at the core of the design

● The face cover employs cutting-edge design features and pioneering technology that give runners space to breathe with comfort so they can perform at their best

● The face cover has been designed in direct response to major concerns about how to run safely as lockdown eases, with ongoing global research [1] by ASICS revealing that 66% globally of regular exercises avoid certain routes or spaces to maintain social distance with others

[29 JULY 2020 – KOBE, JAPAN] – Today, ASICS is excited to announce a revolutionary face cover for runners – the ASICS RUNNERS FACE COVER. 

Created specifically for runners by world-renowned scientists, engineers and designers at the ASICS Institute of Sport Science (ISS), the face cover pairs cutting-edge design with innovative air vents that give runners the room to breathe comfortably, while preventing the spread of droplets. The face covers quick-drying material helps cool the air that reaches its interior.

Together the unique, innovative design and cutting-edge materials allow runners of all levels to exercise without compromising performance or protection. Tests [2] show that the ASICS RUNNERS FACE COVER significantly improves breathability and comfort with runners feeling little to almost no difference from wearing no mask. Importantly, this is maintained even when running at higher speed where conventional masks inhibit performance.

Kenichi Harano, Executive Officer and Senior General Manager at the ISS said: “We know how important it is for runners to protect themselves and others when running, but also that many find face covers uncomfortable and restrictive. So, we created the ASICS RUNNERS FACE COVER, uniquely designed for runners with cutting-edge technology. The innovative design gives runners room to breathe comfortably while performing at their physical peak.”

The new ASICS RUNNERS FACE COVER will be available to runners globally from mid-September at a retail price of 40 USD. To find out more about the ASICS RUNNERS FACE COVER and register your interest for when this product is available, please visit ASICS RUNNERS FACE COVER .

A pioneering approach to design

The ASICS RUNNERS FACE COVER is not like any other sports accessory on the market. Yasuhito Hirota, President & Chief Operating Officer, ASICS, says: “When I used to run with a normal mask it was hard to breathe, but with this mask I was able to run very comfortably”. While other approaches rely solely on the breathability of materials, the ASICS RUNNERS FACE COVER combines this with an innovative design that gives runners the space to breathe comfortably within the face cover. This groundbreaking approach means that runners of every level can strive for their best performance with the confidence that they are staying protected.

Scientists at the ISS have responded to the unique needs of runners with a series of technologies and design features including:

● Interior Space

The unique curved structure creates more room inside the face cover to allow for easier breathing when running.

● Strategically Placed Air Vents

Air vents innovatively placed on the face cover provide unobstructed airflow while preventing the spread of droplets. 

● Quick-drying, Washable Fabric

Cutting-edge material cools the air flowing into the mouth, improving breathability and comfort. The water repellent, washable fabric makes cleaning easier.

● Comfort Fit

Specifically designed to accommodate a wide range of faces with an adjustable cord to ensure fit– helping prevent fog build-up when wearing glasses.

● Sustainable Design

Produced with approximately 31% recycled materials.

ASICS continues to listen to runners of all levels to keep them motivated and protected in a world coming out of lockdown

With the ASICS RUNNERS FACE COVER, ASICS is continuing to listen to runners needs at this time. Ongoing research conducted by ASICS shows that globally, 7 in 10 (68% globally) people are more driven than ever to return to their physical peak.

However, 8 in 10 (79% globally) of regular exercisers we surveyed said wearing a face cover when running is not a comfortable experience because it is hard to breathe and irritates the skin. The ASICS RUNNERS FACE COVER is designed specifically to address the need for a face cover while running that offers comfort as well as performance and protection, with 5 in 10 runners (53% globally) saying they would feel more comfortable about their safety wearing a face cover while exercising.

Yasuhito Hirota further explains: “At ASICS, listening to our runners and understanding their changing needs lies at the heart of everything we do. There is lots more we can learn from the running community as lockdown eases across the globe, and we will continue to evolve our products and services to meet their future needs.”

Get Involved

For expert advice, training plans and more information about how to run, people can follow #RunToFeel or visit 

To find out more about the ASICS RUNNERS FACE COVER and register your interest for when this product is available, please visit ASICS RUNNERS FACE COVER.


ASICS is helping the world maintain its newfound love of running through a series of initiatives aimed at helping people continue to stay safe and motivated in a world coming out of lockdown. These include:

● Offering free access to the ASICS Studio™ at-home workout app for everyone through to the end of August 2020

● Highlighting running in people’s lives by calling on them to share how they stay motivated via #RunToFeel

● Providing additional training content and guidance from ASICS FrontRunner community and athletes


We consider the health and wellbeing of our athletes, customers and staff as our top priority, and we took the decision months ago to close our retail stores and offices in affected markets around the world. Medical professionals say that in the current situation movement is very important to ensure everybody’s mental and physical wellbeing. We believe in the power of sport to uplift us all, and in times like this it has never been as important to help everyone achieve a sound mind in a sound body. We will continue to do all we can to help the world achieve that goal.

[1] ASICS 2020 Pulse Survey: a live study of 1,250 regular exercisers in total across five markets that explores how people are feeling about returning to fitness and their current safety concerns/challenges. Conducted by Edelman Intelligence

[2] Tests conducted at ASICS Institute of Sport Science in Kobe, July 2020 compared ASICS Runner Face Cover with Conventional Non-Woven masks. Results demonstrate improved breathability and comfort at speeds both above and below AT (anaerobic threshold) using the perception scale.

World Athletics amends rules governing shoe technology and Olympic qualification system

Press release:

World Athletics today announces further revisions to its rules governing shoe technology, which are designed to give certainty to athletes preparing for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and to preserve the integrity of elite competition.

These amendments, approved by the World Athletics Council and introduced with immediate effect, are based on significant ongoing discussions with the Working Group on Athletic Shoes, established this year, and with the shoe manufacturers.

They include changes to the maximum height of spiked shoes for track and field events and the establishment of an ‘Athletic Shoe Availability Scheme’ for unsponsored elite athletes. The maximum height for road shoes (40mm) remains unchanged.

The purpose of these amendments is to maintain the current technology status quo until the Olympic Games in Tokyo across all events until a newly formed Working Group on Athletic Shoes, which includes representatives from shoe manufacturers and the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI), have had the opportunity to set the parameters for achieving the right balance between innovation, competitive advantage and universality and availability.

The amendments include:

  1. Clarification of the position for new shoes that have been approved to date;
  2. As an ongoing obligation, athletes, their authorised representative or their shoe manufacturer must continue to submit shoe specifications and, if requested, new shoes for examination by our independent expert;
  3. Approved shoes to be made available prior to an international competition for distribution to any uncontracted elite athlete via an Athletic Shoe Availability Scheme. The Working Group on Athletic Shoes will develop this scheme including timelines, elite athlete criteria, numbers of pairs of shoes required and method of distribution.
  4. Confirmation that the manufacturer commits to making the new shoe available via a scheme to provide shoes to unsponsored elite athletes for free and/or for purchase depending on whether they are qualified or an unqualified athlete who benefits from a place at World Athletics Series events or Olympic Games;
  5. Provision of information concerning the availability of the shoe for other unsponsored elite athletes who need a pair of shoes prior to competition. This is in keeping with the principle of shoes being reasonably available to athletes. As a priority item, in its forthcoming meeting we will work with the working group and World Federation of Sports Goods Industry to design an ‘Athletic Shoe Availability Scheme’ to deliver this. The scheme will cover process, criteria, numbers of pairs of shoes required, method of distribution and when the shoe needs to be available from (our position, which has been generally accepted by manufacturers, is for one month prior to international competition). 

The maximum height of athletics shoes have been amended as set out in the table below:

EventMaximum thickness of the sole (As per rule 5.5, notes (i), (ii), (iii) and figures (a) & (b) to rule 5.5, and rule 5.13.3).Further rule requirement
Field events (except triple jump)20mmApplies to all throwing events, and vertical and horizontal jumping events except the triple jump. For all field events, the sole at the centre of the athlete’s forefoot must not be higher than the sole at centre of the athlete’s heel.
Triple jump25mmThe sole at the centre of the athlete’s forefoot must not be higher than the sole at centre of the athlete’s heel.
Track events (including hurdle events) up to but not including 800m20mmFor relays the rule applies to the distance of the leg being run by each athlete.
Track events from 800m and above (including steeplechase events)25mmFor relays the rule applies to the distance of the leg being run by each athlete. For race walking events the maximum thickness of the sole is the same as that for road events.
Cross country25mm 
Road events (running and race walking events)40mm 
Events under rule 57 of the technical rulesAny thickness 

World Athletics CEO Jon Ridgeon said the previous rule changes, announced in late January, were designed to give the athletes clarity before the Tokyo Olympic Games, which were originally due to take place in July-August this year.

However the later postponement of the Olympic Games for a full year, due to the global pandemic, had given the governing body more time to consult with stakeholders and experts and develop amended rules that will guide the sport through until late 2021.

“We have a better understanding now of what technology is already in the market and where we need to draw the line to maintain the status quo until after the Tokyo Olympic Games,” Ridgeon said. 

“In developing these rules we have been mindful of the principles of fair play and universality, maintaining the health and safety of athletes, reflecting the existing shoe market in these challenging economic times, and achieving a broad consensus with the shoe manufacturers who are major investors in our sport.

“These transitional rules give us more time to develop a set of working rules for the long term, which will be introduced after the Olympic Games next year, with the aim of achieving the right balance between innovation, competitive advantage and universality.”

Working Group on Athletic Shoes

The new Working Group on Athletic Shoes (WGAS) met for their first meeting last Wednesday (22 July). It is tasked with scoping and overseeing studies around shoe technology, exploring definitions to provide clarity to athletes about the shoes they are able to compete in, creating a robust certification and control process and providing expert advice and recommendations to the World Athletics Competition Commission on the future direction of World Athletics’ Rules and Regulations concerning elite athlete shoes for the long-term which may or may not be different to the current rules. The structure and composition of the WGAS can be found here.

Running in Tarahumara culture

Running in Tarahumara culture

Media Release:

“Running in Tarahumara (Rarámuri) Culture,” just published in Current Anthropology (v61, no. 3 (June 2020): 356-379) studies the Tarahumara Native Americans of northern Mexico. For over a century, the Tarahumara have been famous for their long distance running traditions and abilities, with many accounts claiming they have superhuman athletic abilities that partly result from being uncontaminated by westernization. Now an international team of researchers (including a champion Tarahumara runner) combine their own observations with detailed interviews of elderly Tarahumara runners to dispel these stereotypical myths, which they term the “fallacy of the athletic savage.” Lieberman and colleagues use accounts by Tarahumara runners to detail the various ways Tarahumara used to run for hours to hunt animals, and they describe how the Tarahumara still run traditional long distance races that, for men, involve chasing a small wooden ball and, for women, a hoop. While these many different kinds of running have important social dimensions, running is also a spiritually vital form of prayer for the Tarahumara. Further, contrary to the fallacy of the athletic savage, Tarahumara runners –both men and women– struggle just as much as runners from other cultures to run long distances, and instead of being the natural “superathletes” that some journalists have claimed, they develop their endurance from regular hard work and other endurance physical activities such as lots of walking and dancing.


Daniel E. Lieberman, Mickey Mahaffey, Silvino Cubesare Quimare, Nicholas B. Holowka, Ian J. Wallace, and Aaron L. Baggish, “Running in Tarahumara (Rarámuri) Culture: Persistence Hunting, Footracing, Dancing, Work, and the Fallacy of the Athletic Savage,” Current Anthropology 61, no. 3 (June 2020): 356-379.

The Science and People Behind Nike NEXT%

Media Release

Barometers of progress abound in running. Thresholds like the 10-second 100-meter dash, four-minute mile and two-hour marathon captivate athletes and fans alike. Once one barrier falls, a new benchmark is set and with it, a new aim for marking human potential.

For Nike, Breaking2 in 2017 unveiled a new approach to footwear design, a synergy between sport science, engineering and athlete which, highlighted by the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%, defined an industry-leading approach to improving running economy. Rather than a one-off experiment, the work kick-started an iterative design program resulting in a pioneering system informed by sport science and verified by the Nike Sport Research Lab: Nike NEXT%.

Long-distance efforts remain most tied to the Nike NEXT% program — Eliud Kipchoge broke the two-hour barrier in a prototype of the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT%. However, the introduction of training shoes, with the Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% and sprint and middle-distance spikes, affirm Nike’s commitment to breaking new barriers and underscore the value of NEXT% principles across disciplines. 

What follows is a behind-the-scenes look at teams pushing NEXT% forward — inch-by-inch, second-by-second — as told by the athletes, designers, engineers and scientists who make it possible.

The Roots of NEXT%

Making athletes better has been central to Nike’s foundation since its founding. But the idea of making athletes measurably better was seeded in 2013. 

“We started to bring together lots of the concepts about how to make athletes more efficient on race day,” says Tony Bignell, VP, Footwear Innovation. “That took many years of research and development and eventually, in 2017, culminated in the Breaking2 event.”Breaking2 Images  65

Eliud Kipchoge debuting the Nike VaporFly 4% during the Breaking2 event in Monza, Italy.

“We started to bring together lots of the concepts about how to make athletes more efficient on race day.”Tony Bignell, VP, Footwear Innovation

Run on a speedway in Monza, Italy, Breaking2 debuted the Nike VaporFly 4%, a pioneering running shoe worn by Eliud Kipchoge, Lelisa Desisa and Zersenay Tadese, born from deep scientific research into the limits of athletic potential, and how footwear can affect running efficiency. This includes baseline assessments, consideration of material elements, such as cushioning, and highly technical physical capacity like critical velocity.

“We look at variables related to a runners’ stride, impact and heart rate to understand how footwear affects their performance. The longer you run above your threshold, the more quickly you’re going to deplete your energy source,” explains Matthew Nurse, VP, NXT Sport Research Lab. “We can measure an athlete’s oxygen consumption to understand their running efficiency (RE), and their maximum aerobic capacity (VO2max). This helps us understand capacity and efficiency. Think about it as the size of your gas tank, and the miles per gallon you get out of that gas tank. In our research, we want to understand what that threshold is for how fast you’re going to deplete, or replenish, your reserves.”

The idea is that if you can help keep the reserves up, an athlete can go longer and faster. The solution is far more complex.

Understanding Goals

Time — as expressed in world records and major barriers — is a relatively easy way to understand running standards. 

“In the U.S. we can all relate to the mile, because we did it in high school,” says 2016 1500-meter gold medalist Matt Centrowitz. “It’s one of the three signature events with the marathon and the 100.”

The events aren’t just signature distances. The barrier times (10 seconds, four minutes and two hours) are historically barometers of human potential. However, getting to grips with the nuances of other events is crucial to the NEXT% promise.

Consider Centrowitz’s signature event, the 1500 meters. The race is a mix of speed and endurance. Or as he explains, “It’s not just like the 100 where it’s right from the gun. You might find yourself running fast early on and then slow it down or vice versa.” 

Laura Muir is a British middle-distance runner. For her, the peculiarities of the 1500 give it an undeniable drama. “It’s an event where you’ve got a mix of lots of different abilities. Some of the people will come from 800, 1500 background, and some people will come from up to 5K background,” says Muir. “It’s probably the only track event where the times that people run in the major championships can be far, far from what they’re capable of.”  What to Know About Nike NEXT% 19

Left: 2016 1500-meter gold medalist, Matt Centrowitz
Right: Nike Air Zoom Victory NEXT%

“In the U.S. we can all relate to the mile, because we did it in high school.  It’s one of the three signature events with the marathon and the 100.”Matt Centrowitz, American middle-distance runner

Speed in the distance is tied to strategy — the middle stages are critical for sorting how the final push will play out. Go out too quickly, one might get tired and fall behind an endurance specialist; go too slowly, a faster finisher may be favored to cross the line first. 

“Different people are good at different things for how the race is run,” says Muir. 

Strategy also defines success in events like the 400-meter hurdles, where pure sprint speed (like in the 200) must be matched by an 800-meter runner’s endurance distance and a jumper’s knack for timing. 

“In the 400 hurdles, you definitely have to be fast. But I think there’s so much more that goes into the 400 hurdles other than speed,” says world record holder Dalilah Muhammad. “Up into this year, I think I had probably the slowest 400 flat time out of all my competitors and was still able to come away with multiple victories. Sometimes speed can almost be a detriment when you’re trying to set a perfect stride pattern.”

Understanding the nuances of individual disciplines also helps with understanding the individual’s goals. “There’s the opportunity to think more broadly and say, Hey, are you trying to win the season? Are you trying to win the event? Are you trying to recover and do this one? Are you trying to be better acclimated to the heat?” reminds Nurse. 

Collaborative Innovation

Individual goals cannot be achieved without a collective spirit. When Nurse and the Nike Sport Research Lab draw conclusions about cushioning, they know there’s a materials team beside them ready to put the same effort into their respective field of expertise. “The first step is just make sure we’re in close enough proximity to have regular contact and a frequent intersection of ideas,” he says.

From there, creating a shared vernacular helps the merger of different sciences. “In the case of foam, we tried to understand what role compression, resiliency, energy return…all of these things play on performance. We want to be able to share with a materials team or footwear team, ‘If you meet these specs, you’re going to have the best outcome for the athlete,’” says Nurse.An Inside Look at the Breaking2 Kit 9

Custom-crafted for each athlete during Breaking2, the Nike Zoom Vaporfly Elite featured Nike ZoomX foam for responsive cushioning and a full-length carbon fiber plate to increase stiffness and provide a propulsion sensation.

“In the case of foam, we tried to understand what role compression, resiliency, energy return…all of these things play on performance.”Matthew Nurse, VP, NXT Sport Research Lab

The specs help define the NEXT% formula. But the scientific data doesn’t define the technologies to be used. Instead, it helps Nike designers and engineers push new boundaries. It helps make clear how interactions between stability, traction, cushioning and more influence what an athlete does in the shoe.

“The groundbreaking research that led to the original Vaporfly unlocked an entirely new way of thinking about marathon shoes,” says Carrie Dimoff, Senior Footwear Innovator. “Once we understood the plate and foam as a system, we started thinking about ways to make the system even more effective.”

Harnessing Running Economy

From 2017 to 2020, experiments with Zoom Air yielded a series of prototypes (revealed by Kipchoge) and produced another significant leap forward in running shoe design.

“The combination of a really highly resilient foam and really responsive plate worked well with athlete’s strides and helped them spring into the next step,” says Dimoff. “When we added Zoom Air, the whole system advanced further, to an even better performing product.”

The system hasn’t just defined marathon shoes — its reworked expectations for equipment from sprinting to training. The eye is toward helping athletes like Centrowitz, Muir and Muhammad reach new potential.What to Know About Nike NEXT% 18

Carrie Dimoff, Senior Footwear Innovator, discusses prototypes with Eliud Kipchoge.

“The groundbreaking research that led to the original Vaporfly unlocked an entirely new way of thinking about marathon shoes.”Carrie Dimoff, Senior Footwear Innovator

“An essential part of your body is, in a sense, the equipment, because that is what you’re running with,” says Muir. 

Extension of the body is where the design, engineering, materials, science and stride join forces. Get the equation correct and an athlete’s critical velocity is supercharged. 

“It just puts you on the balls of your feet, into positions with your foot that you might need to put more of an effort into doing otherwise,” says Centrowitz of his latest first-choice footwear, the Nike Air Zoom Victory NEXT%.

In reducing effort required, the spike helps keep gas in the tank for the ebbs and flows of the 1500 — giving Centrowitz the combined physical and mental boost of elevated running economy.

Imagining the Future

Working with athletes like Centrowitz, Kipchoge, Muir and Muhammad, among other elites, has put Nike NEXT% firmly into the competitive landscape. And while time is connected to their goals, the nuances of each discipline remind of something more approachable for all runners: pace and endurance often define aims. 

Bringing NEXT% engineering into training shoes, as with the Tempo NEXT%, is an early example of pushing measurable benefit away from the stopwatch.

What to Know About Nike NEXT% 12

The Nike Tempo NEXT%

What to Know About Nike NEXT% 12

The Nike Tempo NEXT%

What to Know About Nike NEXT% 12

The Nike Tempo NEXT%

What to Know About Nike NEXT% 12

The Nike Tempo NEXT%

What to Know About Nike NEXT% 12

The Nike Tempo NEXT%

Bringing NEXT% engineering into training shoes, as with the Tempo NEXT%, is an early example of pushing measurable benefit away from the stopwatch.

“We used Nike React foam in the heel to provide more impact protection and durability, and we used a composite plate that is less stiff and designed for daily use,” says Bignell. “Our goal with the Tempo was to help athletes get to the start line in a better, more effective way.”

The shoe bridges the gap between those runners at the top of the performance pyramid and those who just want to reach a little further.  

“Everybody who wants to get out and do something has their own challenges and their own definitions of better, and we need to understand them also if we want to serve a broad spectrum of athletes,” says Nurse.

In doing that, solutions emerge that may present a whole new range of measurable benefits. Faster times? Never-ending endurance? Sport without injury? Who knows. Or as Bignell puts it: “The best thing is to not put any limits on athletes.”

Adizero Adios PRO: Created by and for record breakers

Press Release:

adidas adizero

Today, we are introducing the newest member of the award-winning and record breaking adizero family. The adizero adios Pro.

The story of the adizero franchise began in Berlin on 28 September, 2008, when Haile Gebrselassie shattered his own marathon world record and became the first person to break the 2:04hr barrier with adizero adios 1.

A decade later, the adizero adios Pro was created by a dedicated team with one goal in mind – work with world-class athletes to develop our fastest running shoe. Training across three continents, elite athletes1 – including Joyciline Jepkosgei and Rhonex Kipruto – gave iterative feedback to develop prototypes and challenge everything previously understood about bending stiffness, energy return, mass reduction and design geometry.

The collaborative process directly led to the shoe’s design breakthrough, EnergyRods. 

EnergyRods consist of five tuned carbon-infused rods, which mimic the metatarsal bones of the foot, allowing runners to maintain their speed for longer, optimizing running economy and creating less physical impact on the body.

The midsole also includes two layers of LightstrikePRO, our lightest and most responsive foam material to-date, providing maximum cushioning and more energy storage. Helping runners maintain speed throughout long distance races, where every second counts. Topped off by a nylon and carbon fibre heel plate, which – combined with the EnergyRods – offers stability for the ankle joint, and correct bending behaviour of the runner’s foot for a smooth ride.

Launching with a limited drop in a bold signal coral and white colorway, the adizero adios Pro is available via the adidas app. Runners can register today to enter the draw and be in with the chance to purchase the footwear on June 30th.

110km runner and world record holder, Rhonex Kipruto; half marathoners, Stephen Kiprop and Philemon Kiplimo; marathon runners Amos Kipruto, Abel Kipchumba, Bethwell Yegon, Albert Korir and Tamirat Tola; two-time Eindhoven Marathon title holder, Festus Talam; and two-time Prague Half Marathon champion, Bernard Kimeli.

ASICS wins top prize for advanced carbon technologu behind its first spikeless track shoe, METASPRINT™

RELEASE DATE: 2020.05.14
[Paris, 13th May 2020] Today, at a virtual ceremony in Paris, ASICS was announced the winner of the JEC World Composites Innovation Awards in the Sports and Health care category. The prestigious award was granted by an international jury for the advanced molding technology behind ASICS new spikeless track shoe, METASPRINT™, designed to improve speed over short distance.

The new CFRTP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastics) technology was developed by scientists at ASICS Institute of Sport Science in Kobe. In collaboration with a close team of cross-industry partners, they discovered a new usage for composite materials to advance track shoe development.

Traditionally, sprinters have relied on spikes to gain traction. However, by using the new CFRTP manufacturing technology to mold the sole of the METASPRINT™, ASICS have revolutionized what a track shoe can look like. The new honeycombed carbon fiber outsole removes the spikes to make the traction of the shoe to the track more efficient, so sprinters are able to exert higher propulsion with every step.

Over short distances, where every millisecond saved count, the METASPRINT™ shoe has been shown to improve speed. Tests conducted [1] by ASICS Institute of Sport Science showed that with this technology, runners were able to go up to 0.048 seconds faster over a 100m sprint.

Commenting on the importance of the new technology for the future of ASICS and the sports industry Kenichi Harano – Executive Officer, Senior General Manager, ASICS Institute of Sport Science, says: “CFRTP composite material has been studied by various industries for its very resilient and light qualities. On behalf of ASICS and our close cross-industry partners, we are delighted to be able to accept such a prestigious award and bring this technology to the sports industry. Not only can it help athlete performance, but it can also improve sustainability. The manufacturing method of this technology allows recycling of the unused fragments, thus reducing the waste.

At ASICS it is our mission to create intelligent sports technology that both protects and supports athletes of all abilities to perform at their best. We are committed to continue our effort to develop sustainable, high-quality technologies like this one for the applications of wider sports usage including footwear and other equipment.”