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  Q: What's the purpose of GEL cushioning for sneakers?

  A: updated (05/03/2012)

Comfort. Pronation of the foot is an issue many runners suffer from: it is when the foot angle's inwards, and as the heel hits the ground it causes the arch of the foot to stretch and flatten. This can result in a number of lower leg tendinitis issues. Alongside pronation, runners can generate an impact equal to three to four times their body weight when the foot/heel hits the ground. Gel cushioning aims to combat these issues. Placed in the midsole - which is between the outsole and the upper - gel cushioning helps support the arch so that it does not collapse and provides impact protection for the heel.

The image shows where the gel cushioning resides in a pair of Asics running shoes

Gel cushioning was an innovation developed in the 1980's. Asics were one of the first brands to develop a gel cushioning system - with the intention of providing absorption of vertical impact. Since then; Adidas, Nike, and Mizuno; are three other notable companies who have released running shoes with some form of gel cushioning.

 
 

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