He shoes, he scores!

UCalgary biomechanics researcher Dr. Gerald Cole and his colleagues in the Faculty of Kinesiology’s Human Performance Lab helped design Beckham’s new soccer shoe, the Predator Pulse by Adidas. The English soccer hero and paparazzi magnet, who plays midfield for Real Madrid of Spain, has been wearing the high-tech shoes since May 1st.

UCalgary’s Human Performance Laboratory and its co-director Benno Nigg are renowned internationally for their knowledge of sport shoes, a billion-dollar product for companies such as Adidas and Nike.

Cole was approached by Adidas to design a new soccer show for Beckham, possibly the world’s best-known soccer star. Cole’s award-winning research led to shifting 40 grams of weight toward the front of the boot, which reportedly increases ball speed by up to three per cent.

Given the elite level of soccer Beckham plays, that increase could lead to more goals.

Cole and his research team (Nigg, Darren Stefanyshyn and Karin Gerritsen) relied on 3-D modelling of the human leg to create the shoe. Adidas built prototypes of the shoes and further tested them with athletes – a task Cole describes as “tricky”. 

When you work with the human body, you learn more and more how little we really know... In some ways, this is a really rewarding area to work in, while in other ways it can be frustrating and difficult. There are no easy answers; the human body is amazing. But that’s what’s exciting about this field as well.

Gerald Cole