A running shoe that promises to shave fractions of a second off sprinters’ race times has been designed by a student, Luc Fusaro.
His lightweight running shoe is designed to shave valuable fractions of a second off a 100- metre sprinter’s time. With Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt expected to show his competitors a clean pair of heels in the men’s Olympic final in London on August 5, his rivals might be interested to check out the progress of this graduate from London’s Royal College of Art.
Fusaro showed his shoes at the RCA’s Graduation Show in London. One weighs just 96 grams, making a pair the lightest sprint footwear ever made.
“My idea was to disrupt the current manufacturing process by using advanced 3D technologies and additive manufacturing to produce custom-made shoes. The first step was to create a range of different sole stiffnesses that I assessed using finite element analysis, and then have athletes try them to see which one was the optimum one,” he says.
Constructed from sintered nylon polyamide powder, Fusaro used 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, to produce the shoe. It has been tested on a number of amateur local athletes.
The manufacturing process of the future built the shoe, layer by layer, with superimposed 3D cross-sections of laser-fused polymers.
Scientific studies show that matching the mechanical properties of a sprint shoe to the physical abilities of an athlete can improve performance by up to 3.5 percent, when just a 0.7 percent gain makes a significant difference in a race’s outcome.
“Tuning the mechanical properties of a sprint shoe to the physical habilities of an athlete can improve their performance by up to 3.5 percent and just to show the magnitude of such impact 3.5 percent represents 0.35 seconds at an elite event,” says Fusaro.
The bad news is that French-born Fusaro’s sprint shoe is still at the prototype stage and will not be ready for use this summer. Usain Bolt will have to wait for his pair.