Almost every runner wants to improve, be it to run faster or longer distances. It’s a common misbelief that the only way to acheive this is to train harder and more often. But there are other ways to become a faster runner.
Most people believe all running shoes are equally good or at least that individual preferences outweigh the quality of the shoes. When I got involved in this project that was my assumption too. But think about it, nobody in their right mind would run in high heels. You don't believe that clogs are as good for running as a pair of racing flats. And if there are shoes that are worse for running, why not assume that there are running shoes that are better?
My first contact with the Airia One running shoe concept was an early prototype custom made for me. I was at a convention in Las Vegas and had two pairs of running shoes with me, one for comparing and one strange looking prototype. I went to the hotel gym first thing in the morning to do my test. I had been running before but had recently fallen out of habit, so I overestimated the speed that I could run at over 30 minutes. 15 minutes in I was already out of breath and had to slow down. I was using my comparison running shoe. The next morning (having eaten more than usual, being in Las Vegas) I went to the same treadmill with my prototype Airia Ones. This time, 15 minutes in I had barely broken a sweat. 35 minutes in I still felt good. What was most remarkable though, was that not only did it seem easier, I actually felt stronger and lighter.
We have been testing the Airia One concept for many years. During the process we have found that not all running shoes are equal in terms of performance. Firstly, the weight makes a difference, 100 g per shoe equals a 1% decrease off the pace at maximum effort. Secondly, the overall construction of the shoe, we have seen running shoes from well known brands, equally popular choices among runners, at the same weight, perform on average up to 2 % worse or better compared to one and other. When performing these tests we always compare the Airia One running shoe to the absolute best of the competitors. So our improvement of 1% is in comparison to a shoe that is maybe already 2% better than what you run in today. That is a 3% average increase in speed. Some of our test runners have reported even better results than that with the Airia One shoe.
Most running shoes are very similar in their construction. An essentially flat sole, thicker under the heel than under the mid foot, some kind of upper in a more or less advanced textile.The Airia One running shoe is completely different. The sole is optimized to enhance the biochemical function of the foot in motion. Every miniscule part of the running stride is analyzed and taken into account to optimize the angles that form when pressing the foot into the ground and pushing off into the next step. This gives slightly less ground contact and slightly more forward pointing force. It is not much but it is enough to make a difference that feels great and can be measured.
It was very obvious for us in the development group that the Airia One prototypes really did perform better than running shoes from other well known brands. But how would we go about proving this, and how do we know that the changes we make are the right ones? We needed a way of measuring running performance in different shoes.
We settled for all out time trials. That is; a runner does two test runs 3 days apart, one with the Airia One prototype and one with the best competitor to our knowledge. This poses a problem though, in that individual performance varies from day to day, and potential bias towards or against Airia One. The solution is a wider field, with 15 runners doing 2 consecutive tests. Daily variations and potential bias should cancel eachother out. To test our theory, we did a study, using the exact same shoe and maybe not so surprisingly, there was no difference in running performance. So we know our test results hold true.
We have now done numerous comparative tests with close to a hundred different runners. In this we started to see that some runners seem to benefit more from the Airia One running shoe than others. We then wanted to see if we could single out the runners that benefited the most, and possibly make a special prototype for those who didn’t benefit quite as much. We measured and studied our runners in every way imaginable, but concluded that we were unable to single out any group. Regardless of size; lean or big, or speed; fast or slow, or forefoot strikers or heel strikers we could not identify who would benefit more or less. So to conclude, it does seem that our shoe might just not fit some runners, we just can’t single them out, hence the 30 days refund guarantee if you’re not totally satisfied.