Every week, we bring you five gear-related stories, from all over, that you won’t want to miss. Here are this week’s highlights:
Surfboards Brought to You by … Science!
Popular Science takes a look at former rocket scientist Edison Conner’s long-standing effort to craft a durable surfboard from aerospace material. Conner replaced the traditional wood spine with an ultrarigid, lightweight foam similar to what’s used in rocket propulsion.
“In his eyes, the surfboard industry was ripe for disruption,” writes Popular Science.
In the meantime, avid surfer and industrial-design student Max Robotham built this surfboard out of 48 jigsaw-like pieces created with a 3D printer.
Running Shoes That Are Alive
In other news from the 3D printing world, Inventor Spot takes a look at a running-shoe prototype that utilizes proto-cell technology—“a burgeoning science coinciding with the advent of bio-inks and 3D printing techniques … Their ability to mimic the properties of living cells makes them capable of growth, replication and evolution.”
The concept behind these running shoes is that they can inflate or deflate, depending on factors like heat, light and pressure, to help support runners in their gait cycle.
Crazy, Cool Cycling Helmets
Brought to you by Bicycling in honor of the Tour de France, this gallery highlights 11 innovative bike helmets from the past 30 years—all of which were first unveiled at the Tour. Many of the early styles—ranging from wool newsboy hats to brimmed cotton caps to leather “hairnets”—disappeared after 2003, when hardshell helmets became mandatory.
Enjoy this throwback album, complete with interactive graphics.
Does Compression Gear Really Help You Recover?
Compression gear—tights, shorts, socks, sleeves and even shirts—is having its heyday in the fitness world. Though compression gear typically carries a hefty price tag, an increasing number of amateur and professional athletes alike are embracing it, touting its supposed recovery benefits. What does science say?
The Sydney Morning Herald takes a look, citing a new study by the University of Essex concluding that, in fact, “compression tights can improve energy expenditure while exercising, hasten recovery and improve proprioception.” Other studies, however, have remained inconclusive.
Mountain Running Boots?
Several years ago, the “maximal-cushioned” running-shoe innovators, Hoka One One, hit the market and made great strides toward challenging people’s perceptions about what a running shoe could look like. Though they toyed years ago with a hiking-boot prototype, their high-top design is only now hitting the market, in the form of the Tor Ultra Hi WP—essentially, a traditional Hoka running shoe with a flexible above-the-ankle closure.
In its initial look at the $230 boot, Competitor reports, “It all adds up to an ideal shoe for running rocky trails up and down mountain peaks, where off-camber balance, relentless traction and all-over protection are crucial.”