Many young women who play sports can relate to Olympic hurdler T’eresa Brown.
Growing up, Brown was faster than brother so she joined the track and field team. But she sported hand-me-down pieces from her brother’s wardrobe most of the time. The ill-fitting clothes got in the way when she competed, and she has the scarred knees to prove it.
“I fell a lot because my clothes were too big and would get caught on my arms or the hurdles,” she says. “Then I wore my practice clothes to school and, well, I did not win best dressed. I had no style at all.”
Brown’s story is far too common because teenage girls don’t have athletic gear created for them. But Adidas has changed that.
What do you get when you cross your favorite remote control toy with a smartphone, them inject a healthy dose of speed and attitude? Darkside Ollie, the newest addition to the popular line of app-controlled robotic toys from Orbotix. And wow, is it fun!
Darkside is billed as a “naughty” version of the original Ollie robot, which debuted last year. With speeds of up to 14 m.p.h. and extremely responsive controls via the iOS and Android Ollie app, this little robot rolls, bounces, crashes, spins, jumps, and tears through just about anything you can throw at it. Leave it sitting alone for about 20 seconds, and Ollie will become impatient and begin pulling of a series of its own tricks.
Back in December, we told you about ShotTracker, a cool system of sensors that gives players valuable intel on their basketball skills and an app that develops drills to improve them. What made the tech stand out was that it also allowed coaches to access that data to tailor workouts and practices to maximize every player's needs.
Now, there's an NBA superstar in the mix, too.
For 25 years, Reebok’s iconic Pump system has been found in basketball and lifestyle sneakers. In April, it made its debut in a running shoe.
The ZPump Fusion is built on an updated Z Series sole, but it’s the upper that’s revolutionary: One piece of fabric wrapped around a slimmed-down, sleeker, and lighter version of the Pump bladder. There’s no tongue or foam, just a super-customizable sheath that grabs your midfoot and heel and locks you down for optimal support while allowing for complete natural motion.
“Sometimes you get displacement between your foot and the shoe upper, some slop,” says Paul Litchfield, Vice President of Reebok Advanced Concepts and the inventor of the Pump. “The Pump system add this level of fit where you don’t get that.”
Litchfield worked with Bill McInnis, head of Reebok’s global running, over a period of two years to develop the ZPump Fusion. Their teams went through roughly 10 prototypes and multiple rounds of testing before settling on the final elegant and eye-catching design.
“It doesn’t look like a traditional running shoe,” Litchfield says. “And I think that’s awesome.”
In this extended version of our interview with Litchfield, we chat more about the ZPump, how the tech can be used in other sports gear, and the legacy of that first Pump shoe, launched more than 25 years ago.
The best of the NBA will be in NYC this weekend for the 2015 All-Star Game. The events are split between Barclays Center (home of the Brooklyn Nets) and Madison Square Garden (the Knicks’ house). And when LeBron and Steph Curry and KD and Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook defend on the Big Apple, they’ll be bringing all kinds of special gear, from shoes to clothes to electronics.
We can’t run down every piece of gear that will be worn on and off the court, so we’re going to focus on some of the shoes players will wear over the course of the weekend.
At a big-deal event in New York last Thursday, Adidas gave the world its first look at the latest in running footwear: the Ultra Boost. "It's a game-changer for runners, and a step change for our industry," adidas executive board member Eric Liedtke said. "We feel like we have the best running shoe ever made."
As smartphones and tablets become more and more a part of our everyday lives, more and more people are coming up with ways to bring cutting-edge tech into the world of sports. Sometimes that means putting sensors inside a ball to collect data and help you train; other times it involves wearing a sensor to track your activity. In nearly ever case, information is dumped to a phone or tablet app which helps you make sense of it and improve your skills.
So in a lot of ways, you might look at ShotTracker and think, "Seen it." But look again. The basketball-focused sensor and app, which were released in November, utilizes a net sensor and one you wear on your wrist to track things like how many shots you've taken and made, where on the court you've shot from, and how much time you've spent shooting around. (You can use any basketball you already own.) All this info is sent to the player app in real time, so the data and analysis are ready as soon as you're done with your workout. You can also stack your stats up against your friends and teammates to see who has the hottest hand.