Today’s Shoes Fit You and Your Game.
Quick, how far back would you say cleats date: 1923, 1874, 1600s or 1500s? The correct answer is 1500s, when King Henry VIII is said to have requested a pair of shoes with cleats so he could play soccer.
From the early days of players hammering metal studs to the bottom of their shoes for greater traction, soccer shoes and those for any sport that requires additional traction, have evolved immensely. Heck, today’s shoes are light years ahead of those worn only 30-40 years ago. In addition to being specifically designed for the sport, they are lightweight, supportive and feature a great deal of technology. Here are just a few offerings to make your spring sport or hobby pursuit more effective.
“For 2015, we’re really excited about our Leadoff line of baseball shoes. They feature full-length ArmourBound® midsole cushions that absorb shock and spread the force over the entire shoe,” said Under Armour’s Pat Baylor.
They also feature Rotational Traction technology for explosive acceleration and power and are available in mid- and low-ankle design.
For those who want to customize their shoe laces to match their team’s uniform colors, check out Under Armour’s Ignite line of baseball shoes. Each pair comes with five lace colors: black, red, royal, orange and pink. These shoes also feature ArmourBound midsole cushions and Rotational Traction technology.
For youngsters who want to release their inner superhero, Baylor recommends the company’s Deception rubber molded alter-ego (Batman) shoe, which features all of the previously mentioned technology, plus ClutchFit.
“Thanks to ClutchFit, these shoes mold to the wearer’s foot to fit the way that is most comfortable for the wearer. This technology also enhances durability,” Baylor added.
Very popular for girl high school softball players is Under Armour’s Spine Glyde cleat.
“With high schools in the Midwest allowing metal cleats for softball players, we’ve seen a lot of interest in our Spine Glyde for women. It features steel cleats in the heel and forefoot for ultimate traction. Additionally, the three-quarter-length ArmourBound® midsole delivers unrivaled cushion and comfort by distributing cleat pressure,” Baylor explained.
Spine Glyde also features abrasion-resistant toe piece for extra protection. As with the Ignite baseball shoes, five lace colors are included to match the player’s uniform.
When I was playing soccer, only a couple of brands offered shoes, so options were extremely limited. The manufacturers followed Henry Ford’s approach to colors, “You can have any color, as long as it’s black.”
A walk down the soccer shoes aisle at your local Dunham’s Sports tells you that’s not the case today. Shoes are brightly colored and much more comfortable than what I wore.
Take Under Armour’s Speed Force FG cleats, for example. They feature a lightweight performance synthetic upper to provide support and enhanced ball control and a TPU outsole with bladed heel for immediate ground penetration. The result is quick acceleration in any direction.
“Comfort, touch and feel are extremely important in a soccer shoe and these deliver just that,” Baylor said.
For runners, Under Armour recently introduced the Speedform® Gemini line in select markets.
“This is the first shoe built in a clothing factory and makes you want to run as soon as you slip it on,” Baylor said. “It features our new Charged Cushioning, which delivers multiple advantages at once: energy return, impact protection and adaptive support for every runner.”
Additional features of the Speedform Gemini include:
• A seamless heel cup with foam collar for a locked-in, anatomical fit
• Smooth, ultrasonic welded seaming with Bemis tape for next-to-skin support and comfort and
• A perforated upper with ultrasonic seal for durable breathability
“Runners will truly appreciate the Charged Foam midsole. It’s cushioned and responsive. Most foams do one or the other. Charged Foam does both and does it better,” Baylor added.
To prepare for the various pastimes, many participants purchase training shoes.
“Because training typically involves more lateral movement than running, which is a more straightforward endeavor, our training shoes are designed to provide plenty of lateral support,” Baylor said.
He recommends having training shoes that are specific to the sport, whether you’re on the field, in the gym, on the court or on the road, as is the case with long-distance runners.
“We have our Strive training shoe that features breathable lightweight mesh with strategically placed, stitched leather overlays for durability. This design also locks down the ball of your foot for enhanced stability,” he added.
When soccer first took hold, players would wear their heavy, work boots – not the best choice when speed and touch are primary factors. Today, we recognize the importance of having shoes that are specifically designed for the sport and that deliver maximum comfort and support.
To ensure your shoes are ideally suited to you and your endeavor, stop by your local Dunham’s Sports and talk to one of the knowledgeable professionals.
-Home Run Hitter
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Today’s Shoes Fit You and Your Game.