Last month, Reebok debuted their new ZigTech Running Shoe. A few months prior to the Reebok launch, Swiss company On Running debuted their own new running shoe and outsole technology. I am not saying that I know Reebok copied On Running but I just want to throw this one out there and see what you all think.
If you recall, On Running developed an innovative outsole technology called CloudTec (originally called WaveStep) which won them the overall ISPO Brand New Award. CloudTec technology has been in production for a few years now by the On Running founder who wanted a way to reduce both the horizontal and vertical impact of forces on your foot and body.
The On Running outsole house a number of circular rubber pieces which absorb both horizontal and vertical shock. As your foot hits the ground with forward momentum, the rubber circles fold back on themselves, absorbing the shock. The pieces then lock together for push off, providing extra forward momentum for a quicker run.
The press release from Reebok last month seems to be making similar claims: "Traditional energy return is focused only on the vertical impact of the heel strike," said Reebok's Head of Advanced Innovation, Bill McInnis. "In contrast, ZigTech is designed to transfer energy horizontally along the zigs so the athlete gets the energy back in the forefoot."
Reebok's ZigTech running shoe was designed to conserve and return energy to the runner. The ZigTech outsole features lightweight foam that is engineered into a geometric zig-zag shape. Much like the rubber circles on the On Running shoes, the zig-zag shape absorbs the impact and sends the energy along the shoe to help propel you forward. Reebok also claims that ZigTech reduces the wear and tear on your legs by up to 20%.
I would be curious to know what kinds of patents On Running has around WaveStep technology if any. So what do you think? Pure coincidence or a little concept copying?