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ISS-adidas collaboration takes Boost technology to new heights

In November 2019, adidas released a line of "Space Race" sneakers to celebrate its new partnership with the International Space Station National Laboratory (ISS). Now the footwear company has launched its first space mission: to improve its Boost energy-return foam technology by studying it under microgravity conditions.

In March, a shipment of pellets made from the Boost material traveled to the ISS lab, orbiting 408 kilometers above the surface of the Earth. There, scientists will study the pellets' movement during midsole mold filling under microgravity conditions – something that scientists theorize could be used to optimize footwear performance and comfort.

Boost technology was introduced in 2013, first in athletic footwear and more recently in streetwear. The distinctive midsole is made of thousands of thermoplastic polyurethane capsules fused together. These springy energy capsules are designed to store and unleash energy efficiently in every step.

On the ISS, Boost pellets made of two different polymers are being injected into a midsole cavity, and the motion of the pellets, their interactions, and their final orientation is being captured with a highspeed camera in a clear mold. The molds will be preserved and returned to Earth for inspection and the findings implemented into the next generation of athletic shoes—in a market where competitor Nike's Vaporfly running shoes have recently drawn unprecedented attention to the concept of performance-enhancing footwear design.

Aboard the spacecraft that brought Boost to the ISS, the pellets shared cargo space with samples of heart and gut tissue as part of the academia-driven Chips in Space project (https://federallabs.org/news/iss-scientists-welcome-new-servings-of-chip...). The ISS also has hosted more than 200 research projects from private entities, including at least 50 from commercial companies.

Read more from CNN Business: https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/06/tech/spacex-adidas-shoe-research-space-st...

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