The Complete History of Cushioning Technology in Sneakers

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Today’s athlete has a pretty wide variety of options to choose from, most important of those decisions relies on how much cushioning is needed for an optimum performance. Sneakers are equipped with midsoles built to guide, stabilize, support, and energize the feet. Runners can go big to feel like they are running on a weightless cloud or paper thin to feel every stone on the pavement, basketball can opt for a responsive midsole that protects and stabilizes foot without the weight or for something a bit lighter underfoot. This was not always the case.

Since Bill Bowerman started experimenting with waffle irons and foam pellets back in the ‘70s, the midfoot has reflected the major trends in athletic footwear for over five decades. From humble beginnings as a visible layer sandwiched between the upper and the outsole to the customized cushioning craze of the ‘80s, the intelligent foams of the ‘90s, and today’s minimal masterpiece, catch up on your sneaker history and follow us through time for The Complete History of Cushioning Technology in Sneakers.

Calvy Click is the Editor-in-Chief of Sneaker Report. When she isn’t writing about performance footwear and apparel, you can find her running around Manhattan to Rick Ross anthems. Keep up if you can on Instagram or Twitter


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  • urriah

    no adidas FYW??

  • Matthew

    No LA GEAR Catapult? What about the ADIDAS ONE? NEW BALANCE ZIP now they were some comfy shoes. OH and PUMA TRINOMIC.

  • kobe

    no adidas equipment? fiRst kobe shoes

  • ThePrufessa

    hexaite was first exposed on the emmitt smith’s. the iverson’s look similar to the emmitt smith’s.

  • ThePrufessa

    DMX’ were great.

  • ThePrufessa

    the brooks DNA sounds very interesting. i just got introduced to non-newtonian liquids on youtube last week.

  • tj

    But you forgot about new balance…

  • sodomite

    dmx foam is good for cushioning but complete fail on responsiveness. no good for running.