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Ever-Evolving, High-Function Japanese Shoes

Part 2

Fulfilling Hopes of Children through High-Function Shoes

In 2003, a new type of shoe was released that lead the way in products with high-function features to help children run faster. Since their release, these shoes have seen a boom in sales units, and the reason for their popularity lies in school physical education programs. Physical education classes often feature short-distance running—the sprint or relay are highlights of the school sports day, held in autumn or early summer. School tracks are very often small and circular, and children want to be able to run "quickly and stylishly," without falling, around the sharp curves that are a feature of these tracks.

「This is Shunsoku」

"This is Shunsoku"—the asymmetrical sole enhances running around curves. (Achilles Corporation)

The secret of these shoes is that they have a sole that is asymmetric. They are designed to allow runners to sprint around the left-hand curve of the track without losing their balance—small and large spikes are positioned bearing this left-hand curve in mind, and the sole is made of non-slip rubber.

It is every child's hope to be able to run fast at the Elementary School sports day

It is every child's hope to be able to run fast at the elementary school sports day (Photo: AFLO)

The success of this product created a market for high-function shoes to help children to run faster, and other manufacturers have marketed running shoes with their own unique features. One such product features a rubber sole with a strong bounce, which increases the power as the athlete pushes off from the ground, and this type is most effective on short, straight courses. Other shoes feature things such as spikes in the toes to increase push-off, sprinting and gripping strength. Although the trend started with short-distance running, products for middle-distance running and all-purpose types are on the increase. While being highly functional, these shoes always feature casual designs suited for everyday use.

What's more, the evolution of children's sports shoes does not stop at running shoes, as shoes that suit the requirements of other sports are also being released. There are shoes that help you to jump higher, soccer shoes that make it easier to kick with the right foot and prevent the left foot from slipping, dance shoes with a rounded sole at the toe to help with turns and steps when doing hip-hop—the list goes on. With stylish designs too, they are cool to be seen in.

It seems that the variety of high-function shoes will continue to grow, making sports fun for everyone.

「Super Star J252」

The "spring-loaded" sole of the "Super Star J252" enhances running power. (Cooperation: MoonStar Company)

Shunsoku Dance

"Shunsoku Dance" shoes were designed to enhance the bouncy moves of hip hop dancers. (Achilles Corporation)

(Updated in March 2012)