A Running Shoe for Cheaters

The springs inside this sole could make you a faster runner

Feb 24, 2015
Outside Magazine
windchill shoe outside

The technology behind the Windchill helped runners run a mile an average of nine seconds faster.    Photo: Hannah McCaughey

Twin brothers Adam and Ryan Goldston, owners of Athletic Propulsion Labs, found success for one very simple reason: they’re a couple of cheaters. The NBA banned their Concept basketball shoe in 2010 because its proprietary spring increased vertical leap, providing what the league called “undue competitive advantages.”

“It was the best thing that could’ve happened to us as a brand,” says Adam. “We were sold out for months.”

Last summer the brothers introduced the Windchill, APL’s first running shoe. That it looks flashy should come as no surprise: the Goldstons’ father, Mark, helped develop the iconic Reebok Pump in 1989. But the shoe is also loaded with technology that the company says will make you faster with less effort. “On average, runners using our shoes were taking nine seconds off their mile time,” says Ryan.

Here’s how it works:

1. A hinge pin secures the springs and keeps the top and bottom plates aligned.

2. Vent holes in the top plate allow air to circulate through the foam for better spring compression.

3. The shoe’s top plate acts as a platform for energy transfer.

4. A nest of EVA foam adds cushion and holds the springs in place.

5. Six compression springs in the forefoot create extra propulsion, which APL claims will help you cover ground more quickly.

Four More Routes to an Undeserved Personal Best

Energy Athletic IonX shirt: Negative ions embedded in the fabric allegedly increase muscle power in short bursts of high-intensity activity. $60.

Felt Bicycles Lebowsk-e: Felt’s first fat bike with an electric motor makes going uphill easy in any season. Just be ready for the ridicule. $5,799.

4MM Jetpack: The code name stands for 4 Minute Mile. Currently in development at Arizona State University, the jet-powered, horizontal-propulsion pack claims to turn anyone who wears it into Roger Bannister.

Geckskin: The University of Massachusetts, with funding from DARPA, the Defense Department’s R&D arm, is working to harness the sticking power of the gecko, which could allow users to scale walls and even glass.

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