Hoka's new asymmetrical shoe could be an Olympics game-changer
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Every four years, the summer Olympics display the latest in athletic innovations. As the Rio Games being, HOKA will be monitoring their efforts to provide athletes with an edge on the ground.
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 turns around the track. According to HOKA’s research, a track athlete spends 60% of a race turning left, and that’s where the Speed EVO R comes in. “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,” Zack Paris, associate product line manager at HOKA said in a statement. “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.”
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 takes time. “Development for the Speed EVO R was a long process, and there were dozens of prototype variations built, studied and refined,” said Paris.
Athletes like Leonel Manzano, a competitor in the 1,500-meter and mile races for Team USA, have given HOKA feedback on the shoe.
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. “Whether a runner wants to fly down a mountain, around a track, or around the streets they call home,” said Paris, “we strive to offer unique solutions that empower that runner.”