New Balance just came out with a significant innovation in mesh design and manufacturing capability in a form beautifully articulated by its Graphic Trainer 711v2 (Figure 1).
Figure 1: New Balance Graphic Trainer 711v2 sports a new look upper mesh that seamlessly integrates the toebox with the rest of the upper mesh in a one piece integrated design, which speaks of new innovations in mesh design, and crucially, manufacturing capabilities.
Specifically, the upper mesh of the Graphic Trainer 711v2 looks from afar to be one integrated piece with the conventional toebox (though present) not clearly discernible except upon close examination. Such an upper mesh design and construction would require exquisite sewing and judicious choice of material. On close examination, the upper mesh seems to be constructed using non-woven cloth material, which is a highly breathable material given its dense layers of microscopic pores.
While a distinct line separates the structural element in the toebox to the rest of the upper mesh, it is nevertheless less distinct that those on many other shoes such as adidas Galaxy 3 and adidas Duramo 7. To have such as close knit construction would require exquisite sewing technique and machinery to create a one piece integrated upper mesh where the toebox is not clearly distinguishable.
As an extra note, the New Balance Graphic Trainer 711v2 also sports an innovative heel pillow which helps to cushion impact forces to the heel.
Collectively, innovations in sewing technique and machinery together with correct choice of material lend themselves to the creation of a one piece integrated upper mesh present on New Balance Graphic Trainer 711v2, where the usual line from the toebox that gives structure to the shoe is not clearly discernible from the rest of the upper mesh. Such seamless upper mesh calls for exquisite sewing skills not present in the typical shoe maker, and thus, adds to the price of the shoe.
Category: sports science, materials, materials engineering, design,
Tags: upper mesh, seamless, toebox, sewing technique,
Acknowledgement: Ng Wenfa thank Seah Kwi Shan for co-authoring this blog post.