Documentary shows footage of U of C technology



The doc airs tonight at 8 p.m.



Talking about shoes has become old hat, especially for one front-runner in their design and construction.

Dr. Benno Nigg can’t even remember how long ago the CBC crew was at the University of Calgary’s Human Performance Lab filming for their documentary Sneaker Confidential which will air tonight at 8 p.m.

He’s had five different crews come through since and while general academia often struggles to cultivate interest in their projects, his groundbreaking work on shoe design for companies like Adidas and Nike has no shortage of interested subjects.

"It’s a story people can relate to," he said. "It’s not like molecules that people don’t know what they’re doing. This thing that we do, very often, has a lot of meaning for people."

Only 20 per cent of the work done in Nigg’s lab is geared towards high-end, elite athletes including increasing the velocity of kicked soccer balls and decreasing the weight of shoes that have direct impacts on time in both long and short distance races.

And Leora Eisen of CBC, who directed the documentary, said it was fascinating to walk into his lab and see people hooked up to electrodes and computers while data spouted onto a computer for analysis.

"When you’re looking for the latest on shoe technology and you have the foremost in the world, the place that’s leading it in the whole world right in your back yard, you have no choice but to check it out," she said. "It’s worthy of an entire documentary itself, but because the focus of the doc is worldwide, we couldn’t do that."