It’s no surprise that no two runners run with the same impact on the ground. Body weight, running mechanics, and pace are only several of the many factors that affect the amount and distribution of force applied with each step. So, how can a shoe be designed to work well for a broad range of runners? Brooks’ answer: DNA.
DNA is the cushioning gel Brooks includes in the midsole of many of their shoes. The DNA gel is adaptive to the force applied to it, meaning that the higher the force, the stiffer it becomes. This way, the cushioning becomes firmer for heavier runners or more responsive when running at a quicker pace.
Brooks DNA uses a non-Newtonian fluid, or a fluid whose viscosity is dependent on the stress applied on it. At lower impacts, loose interactions between the polymers of the DNA material make it flexible and soft. When impact is increased, the interactions strengthen, making the material harder and firmer. For an extreme example, check out this video of people running across a pool of non-Newtonian fluid – they can cross it when running, but when standing still they sink.
Brooks offers its DNA in several configurations in its current footwear lineup.
- Anatomical DNA is the most common application in current Brooks shoes. It is comprised of two discrete inserts in the heel and the ball of the foot for adaptive cushioning upon footstrike.
- Full-length DNA, found in premium trainers, features a single insert spanning the length of the foot, providing adaptive cushioning in key areas from heel strike to toe-off.
- BioMogo DNA does not use a gel insert. Instead, the DNA material is blended with Brooks’ BioMogo midsole compound for adaptive cushioning throughout the platform. This eliminates waste through the removal of insert cutouts, but has the drawback of limiting the ability to target the DNA material to particular high impact points in the shoe. BioMogo DNA is available in all Brooks PureProject shoes, as well as in the Cascadia.