Athletic wear manufacturer Under Armor might have created a running shoe that will revolutionize footwear — not by adding many fancy features to it, but by changing the very way it is manufactured.
“The industry has not only been brainwashed but programmed to manufacture in one way,” Under Armour’s Senior Creative Director of Footwear Dave Dombrow said in a profile by Gizmodo about the new “SpeedForm” shoe. “ We’re going to change that for a variety of reasons.”
The SpeedForm shoe is “unlike any you’ve ever seen,” according to Gizmodo. Why? Because it it is nearly seamless in its design.
“You’ve literally never seen a shoe like this before now,” Gizmodo’s Peter Ha wrote. “But that’s not even the coolest thing. The SpeedForm’s heel cup is devoid of any stitching and is made from one piece of material.”
The shoe’s innovative design also has interesting origins. Ha reported that the shoes are being produced by Under Armor’s bra manufacturer:
Dombrow is telling me about NASA’s original Apollo Project, and how Playtex, a bra manufacturer, had won the contract to build the space suits that would eventually land on the Moon. (Truth be told it was actually Playtex’s industrial division that won the contract and eventually spun out before the latex suits worn by Armstrong and Aldrin took humanity’s first supposed steps on the Moon.) He’s telling me this story because it was Playtex, not a military contractor, that won because of the company’s intimate knowledge of the human body and how to make things fit nice and snug. And it was this inspiration that lead to the SpeedForm.
“Under Armour is all about soft goods and we wanted to take our apparel DNA and put that into our footwear,” Dombrow tells me while taking out multiple colorways from his backpack. “We looked toward bra manufacturing for the ultimate fit experience. To our knowledge, it’s the first athletic shoe that hasn’t been built at a footwear factory.”
Although it might look like many other minimalist type running shoes on the market on the outside, Ha noted that taking a peek inside the shoe reveals the differences. He said there is no insole or stitching. The feel he described as “like the most comfortable pair of socks you’ve ever worn.”
What’s more, he points to the gap between a person’s shoe and their ankle — there is no gap for those wearing the SpeedForm shoe.
With such comfort, Under Armor believes will come improved speed.
“If it fits, you’re faster,” Dombrow said. “We obsessed over the fit and feel.”
In fact, Under Armor tweeted yesterday triathlete Chris McCormack winning the Challenge Rimini wearing the shoes.
The shoe, which went through three years of development, weighs under six ounces, but its material supposedly provides the same grip and durability of traditional running shoes. The current version is specifically designed for racing, but Under Armor is expected to produce a more cushioned version in the future as well, according to Gizmodo
SpeedForm will begin retailing in June for $120.
Be sure to read more about SpeedForm’s development and expected performance in Gizmodo’s full post.