Winning is all about making sure that you’re doing everything you possibly can to have the upper hand on your competition. Increasingly, competitive advantages are coming in the form of new technology and every four years the summer Olympics display the latest in athlete innovation. Just a few days from now when the Olympics begin, HOKA will monitoring their efforts to provide athletes with an edge starting with the feet.
For the upcoming Olympics, the design team at HOKA, a high-end running shoe company, created the first shoe built asymmetrically from the ground up, to focus on addressing the needs of runners as they make their left hand turns around the track. According to HOKA’s research, a track athlete spends 60 percent of a race turning left and that’s where the Speed EVO R comes in, according to Zack Paris, Associate Product Line Manager at HOKA. “The Speed EVO R is the first track spike designed to address the inefficiencies of a runner rounding the corner through totally asymmetrical design, and existing HOKA technologies. The foot is cradled more than a traditional racing spike, and every detail of spike plate design and spike placement was carefully created with cornering at high speed in mind.”
“Runner’s inefficiencies, magnified by the unsupportive nature of their spikes, became glaring in the turns of those races. Yet the focus of spike design in the industry has remained largely unchanged for decades, always targeting weight and tuning stiffness,” said Paris. The Speed EVO R was not only created to help runners turn left, but also to help them overcome fatigue and get a bit more power on their turn from the strategically placed spikes.
Creating a shoe that focuses on improving a runner’s turn doesn’t happen overnight. “Development for the Speed EVO R was a long process, and there were dozens of prototype variations built, studied, and refined,” said Paris. Now that the shoe has been totally refined, it has given athletes to put the shoe to the test during Olympic Trials. Athletes like Leonel Manzano, a competitor in the 1500 m and mile races for team USA, have given HOKA feedback on the shoe, which according to Paris has come back very positive.
HOKA’s slogan is “Time to Fly” and their goal is to give every runner the opportunity to fly. “Whether a runner wants to fly down a mountain, around a track, or around the streets they call home, we strive to offer unique solutions that empower that runner,” said Paris. HOKA is hoping that the Speed EVO R will not only allow athletes to fly around the track, but also to bring home the gold.