Following a sponsored research collaboration with MIT Design Lab, PUMA has created a new-era cushioning technology called XETIC.
This performance innovation combines the worlds of mechanical cushioning and foam to provide excellent comfort for walking and will be first introduced in a new street-ready sneaker called Calibrate Runner.
Foam-based auxetic materials
While the futuristic visible technology of XETIC may look like 3D printing, XETIC is not made of plastic. It is foam.
XETIC takes its name from “auxetic materials”, which are structures that behave in a certain way when they are subjected to mechanical stresses such as compression.
For PUMA XETIC, this means the cushioning provides excellent comfort for all wearing occasions.
Born in the lab environment
“PUMA’s innovation department teamed up with MIT Design Lab because we needed their high-expert engineering capabilities,” said Romain Girard, Senior Head of Innovation at PUMA.
“MIT has computer simulation possibilities, which enabled us to see the behaviour of the material and quickly find the optimal structure for calculated cushioning.”
PUMA and MIT Design Lab worked with an extensive runner community to analyse individual running specifics, such as pressure points. They then took the data to develop a specifically shaped structure that allows for progressive cushioning.
The result was a structure shaped like the horizontal number 8, which is characteristic for the XETIC.
Unique futuristic aesthetic
Qualitative and quantitative user testing, a novel finite element analysis simulation, and parametric design were used over the course of the project to find the perfect pattern, which was named ‘Recurve’.
With its visible XETIC technology, Calibrate Runner has a unique futuristic aesthetic, which will appeal to the techiest of streetwear collectors, while giving athletes access to a new era of cushioning. Straight from the lab, into the future.
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.