Adidas employs thermal imaging in sports shoe development

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The Adidas test centre in Scheinfeld, Germany is using thermal imaging to help develop a new generation of sports shoes featuring ventilated ClimaCool2 technology.

The concept behind ClimaCool technology is to ventilate the shoes, driving away any moisture and reducing the potential for the feet to blister. The Adidas researchers looked to identify which part of the foot is getting the hottest. Once this was determined Adidas started to develop the ClimaCool2 running shoe, with the goal to drain as much heat as possible from these areas.

Adidas used the ThermaCAM SC3000 from Flir Advanced Thermal Solutions to make the temperature measurements. The camera offers high thermal sensitivity (0.02°C) and high resolution (320 x 240 pixels), enabling researchers to see the smallest temperature differences. Thermal measurements were made at 76,800 individual points with the camera.

The data was recorded in real time while athletes were running at full speed. The camera images at a rate of 50Hz with very short integration times, which provided blur-free images of the athlete running. Using the camera, it was possible to see immediately how the shoe was reacting to the temperature differences in the foot over a period of time. Flir ThermaCAM Researcher software was used to undertake extensive thermal analysis on the results.

The tests showed that ClimaCool2 offers up to 32 per cent more cooling to the foot than traditional running footwear and a 12 per cent increase in cooling over the original Adidas ClimaCool shoe.

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