Top Footwear Technologies of 2021

See the top footwear technologies of 2021, including self-lacing capability, connected shoes, new kinds of sustainability and more.

Self-Lacing Capabilities

Jordan Brand Air Jordan 11 Adapt

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“The silhouette sees Jordan Brand employs Nike Adapt lacing technology for the first time,” reports High Snobiety. “The self-lacing Air Jordan 11 Adapt is constructed with a contrasting black and white upper. It features a patent leather mudguard, infrared accents on the Jumpman logo, midsole lighting and translucent rubber outsole.”

Plant-Based Leather

adidas Mycelium Leather

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“adidas is developing plant-based leather that will be used to make shoes, its latest sustainability initiative after producing 15 million pairs of recycled plastic sneakers in 2020,” writes Business Insider.

A Better Long Distance Trail Run

North Face Flight VECTIV

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“Boasting a 3D-molded heel counter for a precise fit, a 3D carbon-fiber plate underfoot and a responsive TPE footbed, the Flight VECTIV is designed for comfort and stability over long distances,” reports Wired.

100% Recyclable Materials

adidas Futurenatural Harden Vol. 5

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“Designed to mirror an athlete’s speed and quick change of direction, Futurenatural will offer a seamless design and new 360-degree fit system to create a natural advantage for athletes,” according to adidas.

“The one-piece shoe mold works with an athlete’s natural movement to unlock total freedom and dynamic angles — the first iteration of the technology applied to footwear will be featured on James Harden’s fifth signature basketball sneaker, Harden Vol. 5.”


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adidas FUTURECRAFT.LOOP Gen 2 shoes represent the second step in a new kind of footwear sustainability. The shoes are made from components of the FUTURECRAFT.LOOP Gen 1 shoes, the company’s “first 100% recyclable performance running shoe.” And this sustainable journey doesn’t stop; the first commercial release of FUTURECRAFT is planned for Spring/Summer 2021.

Additionally, a QR code on the tongue of each FUTURECRAFT.LOOP launches a Blue Bite-powered experience that allows users to register their shoes and peruse additional information.

A Lighter Golf Shoe

adidas ZG21

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“ZG21 is our lightest spiked footwear model to feature BOOST cushioning,” writes adidas. “It’s up to 20 percent lighter than comparable spiked models previously in our range and significantly lighter than many competitor models.”

Connected Smart Shoes

Under Armour HOVR Machina

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Under Armour’s HOVR Machina shoes can be paired to an app that provides “personalized guidance on your running form as you run,” according to Men’s Journal. “In addition, the Machina will feed data on foot strike angle and ground contact time to the app-as well as the usual stats like pace and distance-for you to analyze once you finish your run.”

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