Keeping a step ahead in Kobe

Towards the end of July and after a trip to get there on a Shinkansen, Dr Jim Lee visited the Asics Research Laboratory in Kobe, Japan.  He was kindly shown the facilities by the Senior General Manager, Dr Tsuyoshi Nishiwaki.  Jim has for many years preferred Asics running shoes.  He now knows why the products are so good.

There is a lot of research that is carried out on products before release to the public.  The biomechanics laboratories and equipment are all first class with testing and monitoring possible for just about every sport.  The centre has more than 70 researchers working on all of Asics range of products.  The areas of research include material design and development, developed product testing, and athlete testing to understand human movement and therefore produce improved products.  A very good example of this is the different make up of the soles of the same running shoe model.  Depending on the country of destination is the difference in sole composition, due to variations in anthropometrics.  It just shows how much detail goes into their research.  Jim was also very interested in the museum that housed a variety of shoes, effectively tracking the history of the Asics Corporation.  One pair of basketball shoes was by far the largest he had ever seen.  Due to him intending to compete in his first marathon later this year, Jim took particular interest in the early Asics marathon shoes.  What’s old is new again – some of the products for sale today can see the retro design of products 30+ years old that were on display too.

Dr Nishiwaki has expressed an interest in visiting the Queensland Sports Technology Cluster next time he visits Australia.  Jim would like to acknowledge his appreciation to Dr Nishiwaki and the crew at the laboratory, all of who were very friendly and helpful.

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