It’s official: shoes are now smarter than you are…or at least they can be. With the recent introduction of the Mobium Elite shoe, PUMA creates a new category of performance running that they call Adaptive Running.
In order to get the 411 on how this meld of science and nature came about, we recently sat down with Mary Taylor, General Manager of International Footwear for PUMA, for enough of a scientific tutorial in all things foot related to make your podiatrist jealous:
Can you tell us more about PUMA’s Adaptive Running collection?
The concept of Adaptive Technology came from our desire to create shoes that adapt to & with the body in motion. Mobium, specifically, encourages a more natural and efficient mid-foot strike. During a normal walking or running motion, the foot expands in three directions: longitudinally, laterally and vertically. The technology incorporated into PUMA’s Adaptive Running footwear takes these principles into account, which Mobium’s three main design features: Expansion Pods, Mobium Band and Windlass Chassis, work together to adapt to your foot in motion.
What makes the PUMA Mobium Elite range innovative at its core? Is the Mobium Elite range the first of its kind in the market?
This is truly breakthrough technology, and we believe that this is the future of running. Adaptive Technology is a new class of footwear in that all other shoes out in the Market today are actually static – they do not expand and contract with your foot as it moves.
How does the PUMA Mobium Elite shoe benefit the typical runner?
Mobium is about Natural Running, bringing you economy of stride and encouraging us to return to a more natural, fluid, efficient mid foot and forefoot stride – creating a smooth transition and propulsion motion.
Mobium will work different muscles than a runner may be used to. As it encourages a more efficient stride, you’ll plant at the mid-foot, with your body centered and balanced over your foot. Instead of a hard heel strike, a runner will work different muscles in their feet and lower legs. You’ll find that Mobium will work your calf and foot muscles in a completely different way than you’re used to. Over time, increased muscle activation in these areas will increase strength in your calves and foot muscles. Meaning – this is a training tool; you should get used to the shoes first, once or twice a week to get started. Initially, don’t run every day in Mobium, and trade off with other shoes until your body gets used to a more efficient way of running with the Mobium Elite.
What inspired you to co-create this remarkable design?
Our vision was to create truly adaptive design – product that moves with your body in motion and reacts to you as you run or work out. Mobium is based on the simple, biomechanical fact that your foot changes shape – an average of 6.3% with every step. The simple question was: why don’t our shoes? The expansion and contraction of the foot is called the Windlass Mechanism – and it is the core of the foot’s biomechanics when walking/running. The Windlass Mechanism is the foundation for adaptive technology – and the heart of Mobium design.
Can you recount a memorable story from the development phase for this innovative product?
A dedicated team of passionate designers and developers are at the heart of Mobium. I remember one evening in Asia, when Ray Horacek and Dr. Chris Harig excitedly ran into our hotel after a day of back and forth idea generation with our development partners. They had figured it out – and had a box full of samples that, essentially, delivered on the vision of expansion and contraction. Honestly, it was like Christmas morning…everyone gathered around a pile of samples that were truly transformative.
What’s next for PUMA Mobium Elite?
Adaptive Running and the Mobium Elite are truly exciting launches for PUMA. We consider this to be a Generation 1 shoe and it will continue to evolve in upcoming seasons into other performance categories. And the idea of Adaptive is not just about footwear – PUMA apparel has already won a global award for Adaptive Technologies within ACTV. So this is just the beginning of the Performance rebirth at PUMA.