While the Olympics are often a stage for some of the most innovative gear in sports, this year in Rio is particularly noteworthy. Brands like Speedo, Nike and Oakley have developed revolutionary technologies that put previous iterations to shame. These technologies are helping Olympic athletes go faster, farther and harder — and hopefully succeed in taking home the gold. Below is a selection of products to look out for while cheering on US athletes this week.
Speedo LZR Racer X
LZR Racer X was designed by Aqualab, Speedo’s global R&D team, and is comprised of two technologies: the LZR Racer CompreX, a fabric that allows for vertical but not horizontal stretching; and LZR Racer PulseLite, a lightweight yet highly durable material. The suit gets its name from the X-shaped, ultrasonically welded seams at its sides, which are meant to promote powerful strokes without compromising the swimmer’s form. Keep an eye out for Ryan Lochte sporting one at the Rio Aquatic Center.
Hoka One One Speed Evo R
Each pair of the new asymmetrical Speed Evo R track shoes features differing spike patterns on either shoe. The idea is that it provides more stability in left turns than a traditional symmetrical design. The shoe also features a bit more cushioning than your typical track spike. That’s because it’s built for races ranging from 800 meters to 10,000 meters. Stability in the corners is further improved by a medial midsole wrap that locks the foot in.
Nike AeroSwift Tape
Nike’s AeroSwift tape was developed after countless hours in the wind tunnel. It can be applied in different areas depending on the event, shaving fractions of a second off of sprinters’ times and full seconds off of marathoners’ times. Tiny protrusions from the tape are designed to create a disturbance in the boundary layer of the air moving around the body.
Oakley Green Fade Collection
Each pair of glasses in Oakley’s Green Fade collection is hand painted. The collection is being worn by a number of notable athletes at the Olympics, including cyclist Mark Cavendish. The fades are featured on a handful of models, but the EVZero Prizm models are the real game changers. They feature polarization specific to the sport that the athlete is partaking in.
Felt FA TRD
The FA TRD will be ridden by the United States women’s team pursuit track cycling team. The bike was developed after many painstaking hours in the wind tunnel, where Felt concluded that due to the nature of track cycling and the turns going left for the duration of the race, a left-side drive train was the most efficient. The bike also has almost no protrusions, including the seatpost clamp, which is built into the frame to minimize drag.
Nike Vaporwing Elite
Nike developed the Vaporwing Elite sunglasses were designed to see how it could get to the lens and frame becoming one. The result is impressive, with a highly aerodynamic shape and optics developed by Zeiss. They’re lightweight and stay planted on the face of athletes with a self-adjusting nose piece and grooved temples that help to wick sweat.
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