Sneaker disruption: BASF and adidas

Posted on July 05, 2013

Even though running is most often a solo sport, it takes a team of people to make any athlete great. From trainers to sponsors to physiotherapists, competitive runners rely on the skills and expertise of a wide range of people to make it to the finish line.


Just like the athletes it sponsors, global athletic brand adidas relies on a team of designers, suppliers, researchers and experts to develop new products that enhance the performance of professional and amateur athletes alike.


So when adidas decided to build on its success in the soccer industry by taking a run (pun intended!) at the U.S. running shoe market, it turned to its trusted materials supplier and R&D partner, BASF, to help it create a shoe that would change the way runners run.  


The result is the Energy Boost running shoe, featuring ground-breaking new polyurethane foam from BASF called BOOST™. Found in the shoe’s midsole, BOOST™ is made of a solid granular material (TPU), blown up and turned into thousands of small energy capsules. This unique cellular structure stores and returns more energy in every step, creating a softer, more responsive sensation for the runner.


As we know from other game-changing BASF polyurethane products, such as Cellasto® vehicle components, polyurethane is also highly durable. Just like a coil spring isolator in a car, this durability in a running shoe translates to longer lasting, more consistent performance, giving the consumer greater value for their investment.


In testing the shoe in environments ranging from +40 C to -20 C (104 F to -4 F), adidas found BOOST foam to be three times more temperature resistant than the standard EVA foam found in most running shoes.


When it launched the shoe, adidas Head of Sport Performance Eric Liedtke said the company believes the shoe will revolutionize the running shoe market.


“With our new BOOST foam, we are addressing a fundamental insight: everyone wants more energy.  Whether you're running a marathon, training for an upcoming season or just trying to get back in shape, our revolutionary BOOST cushioning foam provides the highest energy return in any running products,” said Liedtke. “Energy Boost will reset the running industry and pave the way for all future performance footwear.”


And this is only the beginning. The Energy Boost running shoe is the first product in adidas’ new Energy Running segment, created to meet the demands of the recreational running market. As adidas moves forward on this new venture – it announced the second Boost product this month, the Struthio BOOST adidas by Stella McCartney – we can’t wait to see what else it has in store!


To read more about how BASF helped Keen develop a unique sole for its sandals, click here >> Global PUR magazine, pages 36 and 37.


To read more about BASF’s polyurethane concept shoe >> click here.