After the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon, I attended the New Balance Tech Summit. This was attended mostly by New Balance employees for sales and marketing. Of course, they need to know about their products. Being there was a wonderful learning session as I get a lot of information about the shoes and the technology behind every New Balance shoes. We had topics on biomechanics, shoe fitting, and updates on the latest products of New Balance.
This will be a series of posts as I share my learnings from the New Balance Tech Summit. I would cover topics on shoes, a little on biometrics, shoe types, gaits, technology and a tease on future products from New Balance. These materials are taken from the slides presented during the tech summit. Here is the first part. A quick lesson on the basic parts of a shoe. These term are the ones would encounter often whenever they describe a shoe.
NOTE: I added a few parts and descriptions aside from what was provided from the New Balance Tech Summit.
Upper – Provides stability, breathability and support to the top of the foot.
Midsole – The midsole gives the shoe a sturdier and more rugged look because it adds a layer of material between the outsole and insole. The midsole receives no direct wear and provides added support and comfort. The midsole retains the shape and stability of the shoe, but it also adds weight.
Outsole – The outsole is an integral component of the shoe that makes contact with the ground. Soles have a variety of properties such as wear and durability, flexibility, traction, insulation, and stability. The large majority of outsoles are made of synthetic materials that usually wear longer, absorb shock better, and cost less than leather. Soles are of different thickness depending on the demands of the shoe. Soles also come in varying degrees of flexibility, a desired quality in a shoe and its sole.
Insole – The insole is an integral design component (layer) of the shoe that is attached to the upper, toe box, heel counter, linings, and/or welting. For comfort and durability, a good insole must be flexible, breathable, and stain resistant. A good insole must also have structural integrity and inhibit growth of bacteria. A sock lining covers all or part of the top surface of the insole.
Heel Counter – The counter is the stiff piece of material usually sandwiched between the inner lining and the outer upper material that surrounds the heel of the foot. A counter can also be applied externally. Counters come in various densities or degrees of firmness, from rigid to medium to soft, depending on the type of shoe.
Toe box – The toe box is the toe end portion of the shoe. The shape and height of the toe box are determined by the last and the shoe’s design.
Flex Grooves – Cuts or grooves in the outsole rubber at the forefoot that follows the anatomical shape of the foot for better shoe flexibility.
Vamp – Any shoe has an upper part that helps hold the shoe onto the foot
The medial and lateral side of the NB1906 based with reference to the outsole.
The outside part of the shoe is referred to as the lateral side and the inside facing part of the shoe is the medial. This can be in reference to either the outsole or the vamp.
The lateral side usually is made of more durable materials since this is the part that lands first and is more susceptible to wear and tear. It is also that part that absorbs most of the impart during foot landing. Thus, the lateral side of the shoe usually uses materials and technology that has more compression and impact absorbing properties. Can you guess what technology or material was used in the lateral side of the NB1906 to give it a high compression and impact absorbing properties? The N-ergy is strategically placed at the lateral side of the shoe.
The medial side is important during the pronation stage or when your feet starts to roll in during the gait cycle. You can find out if the shoe is for normal or overpronators by looking at the medial side. For overpronators, the medial side is usually thicker and has the support technology to minimize the pronation. Can you see the difference in the medial side of the NB1224 and NB1906? Which one is for normal pronators and which one is for overpronators?
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