Energy return appears to be the hot design element in running shoes today. Adidas has Boost and the Springblade collections, while Under Armour promises energy return in their new Speedform Gemini running shoes. We would all love a little extra spring in our step but how about a real mechanical one? New running shoe company Enko created a unique spring-loaded outsole that absorbs impact energy and returns it to you on acceleration.
The idea of a spring-loaded outsole is not entirely new. APL created the Windchill running shoes with six tiny compression springs, hidden under the base of your forefoot, that store and release energy as you move through your running gait.
Created by French aeronautical designer and one-time competitive runner Christian Freschi, the Enko running shoes utilize two spring-loaded shock absorbers in the sole to store energy during the cushioning portion of your stride, then gently release that energy as you push back off again. The whole outsole mechanical system adapts to any kind of stride–neutral, pronator, or supinator.
This unique sole construction supposedly delivers a much more comfortable ride, improves your running efficiency, and protects your joints from excessive impact forces.
With one click a lever located at the side of the outsole, you can switch from walking to running position–this lever alters the spring tension accordingly. Additionally, you can choose between springs of varying coil stiffness depending on your body weight.
For extra durability, the rubber studs on the sole of the shoe are replaceable. No need to buy new shoes when the outsole begins to wear out. The Enko running shoes are designed to run on roads, pathways, tracks, but are not yet adapted for trail running.
All this mechanical technology does not come cheap–for a $390 pledge on Indiegogo, you can be one of the first to own the Enko running shoes.