For over 20 years, Karhu, Finland's legendary running brand, has been working with the University of Jyvaskyla (UoJ), Finland's leading sports and fitness research institute. More than two decades worth of collaboration and rigorous testing on running shoe advancements has resulted in Fulcrum, a patented technology released earlier this year that promotes natural running.
Winner of Best Debut 2009 from Runners World, Fulcrum Technology promotes the foot's natural abilities by creating a fluid rolling effect that allows the foot to follow its natural heel to toe gait cycle. Asymmetrical fulcrum points in the midsole platform allow for a balanced heel strike and create the transition from the braking phase to the propulsion phase. The platform, extending back from the fulcrum points, absorbs the force of the heel strike and loads the fulcrum with energy, ultimately converting that into forward motion.
University test results have shown that Fulcrum Technology can lower energy consumption and reduce body stresses through a more natural running gait and faster transition from heel to toe. Runners reported being able to easily run more miles when wearing Karhu shoes equipped with Fulcrum Technology.
Karhu and the University have now announced a new partnership that will delve deeper into Fulcrum and other technologies that can further improve efficiency and performance through natural biomechanics and physiology. Karhu is not the first company to forge a close relationship with a University in order to foster innovation. We posted earlier about Finisterre and their relationship with the University of Bath to help bring biomimicry into outdoor apparel.
"Research on runners using the Fulcrum technology showed significant, measurable results in lowering heart rate and decreasing oxygen consumption," said Huub Valkenburg, CEO of Karhu. "Our partnership with the UoJ provides us with additional critical information that could essentially change the way we look at running performance. It's conceivable that this research yields shoes that can significantly alter our notion of what is possible for the distance runner."