The technology of shoe making has radically changed in the last quarter of century. Not only are shoe designs different the manner in which they are made and tested has also altered beyond recognition. Material labs help build shoes from scratch by creating new polymer mixes and adjusting sole moldings to suit foot function. New materials are tested in space age labs which include climate chambers to replicate almost any condition on earth, and also sophisticated biomechanics laboratories. A good example is the new Asics Gel-Kayano, was developed at the Asics Institute of Sport Science in Kobe, Japan.
The original trainer was launched in 1993 and incorporated a combination of suede and mesh overlays with different gels sandwiched into the midsoles of the rearfoot and forefoot. The sixth version was released seven years later, and was constructed to absorb impact of peak force. A decade on, the 16th generation in 2010, aimed to stabilize a runner’s foot by keeping it straight during stance phase of running. The 23rd version was 55 % lighter than the industry standard and incorporated FlyteFoam®.
For the 25th anniversary model, designers created two new styles of FlyteFoam® i.e. Lyte and Propel. FlyteFoam Lyte contains nanofibers trapped between air bubbles which makes the thinner midsoles lighter (under 12 ounces) than previous models but also increases both the strength and durability than conventional EVA foam.
Bengtson R. (2011) The Complete History of the ASICS GEL-Kayano