The foam in trainers has been cushioning our feet for over ten years. But no-one knew exactly why it was so good at absorbing shocks. Powerful new microscopes have revealed the answer is in the foam's nanostructure.
Chains of molecules are arranged in repeating sequences, and the length of this sequence is crucial. Scientists can now adjust the foam ingredients, making tiny changes to the repeating sequence to control the foam's shock-absorbing performance.