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adidas Unveils Barefoot Training Shoe, Designed with the Help of Mark Verstegen

After two years of design and testing, adidas unveiled the first barefoot training shoe made for the gym, the adipure Trainer, to media in New York City on Tuesday.

The adipure Trainer was designed and tested with the help of Mark Verstegen, founder and president of Athletes' Performance and Core Performance, and the Performance Innovation Team at Athletes’ Performance. From inspiration to design to prototype to testing by the Performance Innovation Team to real-world training with athletes, creating the adipure Trainer involved iteration, honing, and refining to make it unlike anything else on the market.

(from left) David Baxter, Rob Lee, and Mark Verstegen

“We view footwear as equipment,” said David Baxter, vice president of sports performance for adidas America. This new piece of equipment will change your gym routine and your body by improving posture and body awareness, boosting flexibility and balance, and strengthening muscles you never knew you had in your feet, lower legs, and core.

To demonstrate how to use the adipure Trainer, U.S. women’s national soccer team midfielder Heather O’Reilly and New York Giants wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan demonstrated exercises in a workout led by Verstegen.

Before doing a single exercise, media participating in the workout quickly realized their first physical test—putting the shoe on. “We wanted it to fit like a glove,” said Rob Lee, vice president of design for adidas America. For those of us who have limited dexterity in our toes from not training them and wearing the equivalent of mittens on our feet for years, slipping our toes into a glove, so to speak, isn’t so easy at first. Verstegen says this is common. As you begin improving your “phalangeal fitness,” as he calls it, putting on the adipure Trainer will become easier.

"Your foot is a beautiful piece of architecture," said Verstegen. These sketches show how the barefoot-shaped construction of the adipure Trainer was crafted to mimic the foot's anatomy.

If you have trouble spreading your toes, keeping your arch up, or simply putting on the adipure Trainer, think of it as an opportunity to improve your fitness. Measure your improvement by taking before and after photos of your feet. (Snap both top and side views.) Here’s what to look for:

First, compare your arch before and after wearing the adipure Trainer during training. If your arch is relatively flat, you’ll want to focus on keeping your arch up during exercises and your big toe engaged with the floor. Next, look at your toe separation. When you have the proper toe separation, the widest part of your foot should be at the toes. Notice the relationship between the direction your big toe points and your heel. If you were to draw a line down from your big toe at an angle, it should go straight through the center of your heel. Proper barefoot training that progresses in a safe and efficient manner will help you improve in each of these areas.

The adipure Trainer will be available in November for $90 at Dick's Sporting Goods, Foot Locker, Sports Authority, and shopadidas.com. Check back to the Core Performance blog for tips on transitioning to barefoot training.

Additional coverage: 

  • Sheraton
  • EAS
  • Adidas
  • SKLZ
  • Kaiser

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