This morning I got to go running in a pair of new Adidas_1s with Mark Oleson, one of the sneaker's inventors. It was a beautiful day for a run in Central Park and a fantastic opportunity to learn a little more about the world's most intelligent running shoe.
Mark, a member of the adidas Innovation Team, has been working on this technology for over 4 years. Their goal was simple: make a shoe that adjusts to a runner's dynamic needs. The result is a technology that senses, understands and adapts.
The sensing is a achieved by measuring the compression distance in the heel opening at a rate of 1,000 times per second. Those readings are received by an 8 mHz processor that determines what adjustments are necessary to achieve the optimal foot cushioning. When a change in compression resistance is needed, the 6,000 RPM motor is signaled and the tension in the steel wire that connects the front and back of the heel plate is adjusted. These adaptations happen on average every 4 steps, as needed. And the shoe remembers your patterns to constantly give you the best support. Of course, if you prefer a softer or stiffer ride, you can make those adjustments manually.
So how did it feel running in these things? Great! The bottom line is that it's a really comfortable, solid shoe. We played with the settings so I could feel the range available, but once I just let the shoe adapt to me, it just felt good. And that's the point. You shouldn't constantly feel the shoe adjusting, you should just be able to run comfortably over any terrain.
They's been on sale (and sold out) for almost a month now, but more are expected to drop this weekend. Check out the Adidas_1 web site for a retail finder or to sign up for notification when they're available online. For now, they're just available in men's sizes and one colorway, but stay tuned for a women's and a range of colorways in the not too distant future.