Nike has introduced several new shoes for various competitive categories at the Beijing Olympics.
The above image shows the Nike TKV shoe developed for taekwondo. This footwear was designed to protect the feet of athletes whose performance may be compromised by injuries in earlier rounds. The design allows for maximum movement while protecting the foot and ankle. One fascinating detail among others is that the protective cushioning material was engineered to make a loud 'clicking' sound upon impact with an opponent. The purpose is to aid in judging so the moment of impact can also be heard - not just seen. I assume this enables more accurate judging.
Continue reading to see some of the other very interesting shoes with a brief description...
The Nike Pidima for gymnastics. Excerpt: "Working with a German sports research scientist, Nike developed a forefoot pad that mimicks the Nike track spike pattern. A split on the outsole allows for pliability between the first and second metatarsals where they spread during impact."
The Nike Dynami for Canoing. Exerpt: "Inspired by the heritage icon, the Aquasock—and also by the canoe paddler’s need for lightweight support and traction—designers developed the Nike Dynami for the Canoe competition in Beijing. The critical innovation in this footwear is a new wet rubber compound on the outsole that was engineered specifically for water sports in Beijing."
The Nike LunaRacer for track and field. Excerpt: "The LunaRacer weighs a mere 5.5 ounces, and elite athletes who’ve experienced Lunarlite foam cushioning are reporting that after their long runs, they feel less beat up—a good sign for the marathon in Beijing." (Two advanced materials in this shoe: Flywire and Lunarlite - read the full back story for more details about these materials.)