New High-Tech Running Shoes Give Sprinters a Boost
APL Windchills are trademarked to quicken your pace.
Adam and Ryan Goldston, SoCal-born twins turned two-sport USC walk-ons turned inventors, have an unusual approach to designing shoes. Rather than making sneakers that maximize athletic performance, their company makes footwear that augments it. Athletic Propulsion Labs’ first release, the Concept 1 basketball shoe, purported to increase wearers’ verts instantly by way of “Load ’N Launch” technology, which Ryan describes as “a system of compressed springs that sits in the cavity of the forefoot and acts like a diving board.” The experiment worked so well that the NBA banned the Concept 1 for “providing an undue competitive advantage.” Far from a setback, the ban was good for business.
“Within a couple of days we sold out months’ worth of inventory,” Ryan says. “That allowed us to expand the brand and gain worldwide recognition.”
The Goldstons’ new project promises to reach an even larger crowd. APL’s Windchill running shoes, out this week, have a half-dozen Load ’N Launch springs where your feet pound the asphalt or dirt, helping to propel the foot forward with less effort. The shoes also feature an 8-mm heel-to-toe drop, “FloZone” uppers for maximum airflow and breathability, and a structural cage to comfortably lock the foot into an athletic position. Put a different way: They make you go fast.
The company isn’t particularly worried about the running world’s sanctioning bodies – “We just designed a shoe that’s sure to change how a lot of runners approach improving their speed” – because the Goldstons understand that the restraints placed on professional athletes facilitate competition by leveling the field. That said, the rules enforced at the professional level don’t need to take the joy out of amateurism. Pulling on shoes that make you faster isn’t cheating if you’re racing yourself. It’s good clean entertainment (or a smarter way to commute). APL plans to come out with a street race-legal pair down the line, but fun runners should embrace the tech. Being unprofessional has never been more enjoyable.