Desgin for sport
In 2017 Toronto won the NFL Grey Cup as well as the MLS Cup making them a very relevant city in the North American sports scene and making us think how important product design for sport is.
It’s amazing to think about how a sport can changes because of the technology and the products that are used to practice and play with. The most notorious and controversial moment for product design applied to sports was the use of the so-called: super swimsuit for the Beijing Olympics that allowed them to set new records on almost all the disciplines.
I recently needed to buy a new pair of soccer shoes. The model I currently owned was at least 10 years old, the Adidas Predator which is a product that I loved a lot and I was quite sad when they started to fall apart. I went shopping for new shoes and I was so impressed by how much soccer shoes had changed. All of the top models have a tight inner sock incorporated, they do not have laces, and the heel is well locked. All these little improvements completely enhance the feeling you have with the ball and your ability to shoot it in a desired direction.
When I was growing up, we played on asphalt in the middle of the street and we practiced shots and ball control- kicking the ball over the wall (sometimes accidentally hitting some windows). Nowadays there are so many well-designed products to help with your training. One of the most innovative is the Adidas miCoach smart ball, it contains sensors inside that communicate with an app on your cell phone, telling you the speed, trajectory, and rotation of the ball.
In American football and hockey, one of the biggest changes was the introduction of a protective helmet that was not available when these sports were created. Today after the latest reports linking athletes concussions during the player’s career to later illnesses and deaths, an innovate company designed a new product that may represent the new generation of helmets. It’s called VICIS, while regular helmets absorb most of the shock through the interior foam, this one uses an innovative material for the shell that is able to flex when hit, therefore, decreasing the impact transfer to the athlete’s head.
These examples of great design within sports products are only the latest of a long list of changes that have revolutionized sports in the last two decades. It is exciting to live in an era where product design affects so many performances allowing players to reach higher and higher skills levels.