Puma has a new comfort-driven and aesthetically bold cushioning technology on the way, an innovation created in collaboration with the MIT Design Lab. And the new compound will debut this month on the German sportswear giant’s latest lifestyle shoe: the Calibrate Runner.
Xetic is the new cushioning platform from Puma, an innovation that has the appearance of 3-D printing but is made with foam rather than plastic. The brand said the name is derived from “auxetic materials,” which are structures that have specific behaviors when subjected to mechanical stresses such as compression. Xetic, according to the company, was made to offer improved comfort for all wearing occasions.
“Puma’s innovation department teamed up with MIT Design Lab because we needed their high-expert engineering capabilities,” Puma senior head of innovation Romain Girard said in a statement. “MIT has computer simulation possibilities, which enabled us to see the behavior of the material and quickly find the optimal structure for calculated cushioning.”
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To create Xetic, Puma said it worked with the MIT Design Lab in speaking with runners to “analyze individual running specifics” such as pressure points. Then, from the data that was accumulated, they created a structure — which resembles the horizontal number “8” — that allows for “progressive cushioning.”
Although this is a comfort-driven innovation and has apparent benefit to athletes, its bold look provides an atypical futuristic aesthetic that the brand believes will appeal to the tech-loving streetwear consumer — hence the tech making its debut on the Calibrate Runner lifestyle shoe.
“This will definitely cater with the first drops to the tech lover, the sneaker lover who really likes the technical, futuristic look,” Puma global creative director and innovation Heiko Desens explained during a live-streamed media event revealing the tech today. “However, the other [upcoming] designs feature a little bit of the nostalgic part of our archive. We have very interesting ’90s color blocking, we play with synthetic suede, some hiking details — we really looked into that. [This will] speak to a different consumer, more this streetwear lover who’s really into old designs and references from the past.”
The Puma Calibrate Runner featuring Xetic tech arrives in the U.S. on Aug. 28 via Puma.com, at the brand’s stores, Foot Locker and select retailers. The shoe will retail for $140.
Prior to its release stateside, the shoe will be available in Asia on Aug. 7 and in Europe on Aug. 15.