NEWS

2012-02-13

New Nike shoes

AS BRITAIN'S Paralympic hopefuls ramp up their training for this summer's games they can now train in style as Nike release their first shoe for runners with no feet.

 

The Nike Sole has all the elements of a normal running shoe and is now on sale world wide, including in Britain, with the price depending on the individual fitting.

The invention will mean athletes who run with running blades will no longer be forced to pay for regular shoes only to rip them apart tp use the sole.

Stripped down to the key component amputees need most and using recycled materials, carbon fibre and a “flex-run” blade, the lightweight sole features a three-part layered system to make a sole like you would find on a normal trainer. 

These layers are designed to provide traction, comfort and support, adding the feeling of a real shoe onto the prosthetic leg to improve track performances. 

The sole attachment also contains nine nylon tabs and a rubber leash that hooks and grips on to the running blade, giving users the ability to run firmly on the ground but also easily slide the sole on and off their blades. 

The new shoe has been designed in conjunction with Sarah Reinertsen, a paralympic athlete who has has set world records in nearly every distance from 100m to the gruelling Ironman triathlon.

According to Nike the minimalistic design aims to be "both stylish and more functional for amputee athletes".

A spokesman said: "Previously, runners resorted to buying a regular pair of sneakers and mangled them entirely by slicing the bottom soles off then manually attaching it to the blade with glue, velcro or duct tape. 

"Nike hopes that by focusing on the user than the product, the design will serve the small but new market whose needs were never addressed to date."

Nike Innovation Director Tobie Hatfield said: “The Sarah Sole project is a special one for Nike.”

“The Nike Sole is a shining example of our passion and commitment to serve athletes and provide them the solutions they need to achieve their goals – we’re always listening to the voice of every athlete.

Like most competitive amputee athletes, Reinertsen competes today in marathons and triathlons using an Oumlssur Flex-Run prosthetic carbon fibre blade and Nike Sole. In 2006, she began working with Hatfield and the Nike Innovation Kitchen on a solution for her prosthetic outsole needs. 

Previously, Reinertsen, the first female above the knee amputee to complete the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii in 2005, would use the outsole of a traditional running shoe as her prosthetic “shoe.” 

With limited innovations with prosthetic soles, this cobbling approach to creating solutions using regular running footwear had become the norm.  

Reinertsen, who has worked with Nike and Oumlssur on the project since 2006, was born with proximal femoral focal deficiency, battling a bone-growth disorder which resulted in her becoming an above-the-knee amputee by the age of seven. 

Since the amputation, Reinertsen has set world records in her division, ran multiple marathons and was the youngest member of the 1992 U.S. Paralympic Team to compete in Barcelona.