Back in June, news sites began picking up the story of Rayfish Footwear, which claimed it could genetically engineer stingrays to have whatever skin pattern or color you want, and then make you some cool sneakers out of it. Just like we thought, that is not possible, and the company is fake. NextNature, the Dutch organization behind Rayfish (they've also done other pranks), just released a video documenting the prank, though it's not totally clear what point they were trying to make with the whole thing. Video after the jump.
The human body already has a highly efficient cooling system: As perspiration evaporates, it draws heat away from the body. Wicking fabrics facilitate this process by distributing sweat evenly over the fabric, so that it dries more quickly. Despite devising cheats, such as menthol-like chemical coatings added to fabrics, companies have never actually improved upon the body's natural cooling process. Designers at Columbia Sportswear have now made a fabric that does.
Speedo's Fastskin line (including the banned-as-of-2009 LZR suit) of high-tech, high-performance swimsuits were inspired by the skin of a shark--shark skin's sandpaper-like texture is thought to reduce drag, hence its usefulness in swimming gear. But an ichthyologist at Harvard performed a study and found that Fastskin is "nothing like shark skin at all," and that its surface properties do not reduce drag one bit.
Nike's TurboSpeed, which sounds like the name of a Hot Wheels playset, is an ultra-lightweight track suit designed to help sprinters reach that extra height. Oddly, it's inspired by the golf ball, which is why it has all those odd little dimples. But we prefer to think of them as speed holes.
The problem is as follows. The perfect winter insulation should be ultra warm, extremely light and packable, and stay warm when wet. No single insulation--not the classic goose down, not the best efforts of synthetic insulation makers--has met all three of those criteria, and folks like hikers, skiers, and snowboarders have had to settle. But North Face claims its newest jacket technology, which uses ball-shaped synthetic insulation that behaves like down, is the perfect compromise.
Nike just announced that it's bringing the famed self-tying, light-up sneakers from Back to the Future II to market as a limited edition, under the name Nike Air Mag. They're not tech-free, boasting some flashy LED lighting, but everyone knows the main draw of the movie's shoes was the self-tying--and these shoes could have been so much more futuristic. It may not be 2015, the year depicted in the movie, just yet, but that doesn't mean we don't deserve self-tying shoes right now, dammit. Here are some possible routes to the true self-tying shoe.
At Japan's Environment Ministry offices, the employees conform to a new energy-saving dress code known as Super Cool Biz (what, you have a better name?). Super Cool Biz (which I will refer to by its full name as often as possible, for obvious reasons) is an effort to tamp down Japan's skyrocketing energy consumption, largely through cutting out excess air conditioning--and the hotter offices required a change in the traditional Japanese dress code, from full suits to eye-catching and naturally cooling Hawaiian shirts.
For 35 years, Gore-Tex has dominated the market for waterproof, breathable fabrics, but this spring it has some competition. Textile maker Polartec has developed its own waterproof, breathable fabric that threatens to trump Gore-Tex's latest. We put both through the wringer to see which stands out.