The vast majority of athletic footwear companies focus their research and development efforts on shock absorption and cushioning. While this is clearly important in the manufacture of athletic footwear, it does little to help increase the vertical leap of an athlete. In fact, most technologies in the athletic footwear market are in the heel area of the shoe, though jumping occurs in the forefoot just in front of the ball of the foot through the toes. The forefoot is the most critical part of the basketball shoe for vertical leaping and this is where the Athletic Propulsion Labs® Load ‘N Launch® system is located.
The technology itself features a unique device that serves as a “launch pad” housed inside a cavity at the front of the shoe, which compresses (The “Load” phase) and then releases (The “Launch” phase) as the athlete exerts force on the front of the foot. The patented Load ‘N Launch device (US Patent # 8,347,526 B2, # 8,495,825, # 8,621,766) is uniquely designed to capture the maximum amount of energy through the compression caused by exerting pressure on the forefoot and then releasing the energy through the propulsion and liftoff stage to increase vertical leap. The device works in unison with a high-pressure Thermoplastic Urethane shank that extends through the arch of the foot. This serves to help stabilize the foot and efficiently transfer energy created by the athlete toward the area of the basketball shoe that impacts vertical leap.
In testing situations, athletes have experienced increases of several inches on their vertical leap wearing Athletic Propulsion Labs® basketball shoes with the Load ‘N Launch® technology. In some cases, athletes who were the proverbial “inches away” from being able to dunk a basketball on the regulation 10-foot basket, were able to dunk the ball when wearing Athletic Propulsion Labs® shoes. These are not training shoes. Athletic Propulsion Labs® has created actual playing shoes designed to make players jump higher during a game – increasing the benefits to a player’s jump shot, rebounding, dunking and shot blocking ability.
While results will vary based upon the athletic ability and physical conditioning of those wearing Athletic Propulsion Labs® shoes, the Load ‘N Launch® technology is designed to provide an instant advantage to virtually everyone who wears the product and engages in jumping on a basketball court.
We have examined every aspect of the Concept 1 basketball shoe, from the materials used to the placement of our Load ‘N Launch® technology. Our wear testers indicated they had seen a noticeable increase in their vertical leaps, felt lighter on their feet, and were more explosive for longer periods of time which was then verified through independent testing.
Above: Photos of the APL Concept 1 basketball shoe testing conducted at a leading West Coast University using Kistler force plates and the Vertec device. Test participants achieved up to 3.5 inches of increased vertical leap in APL Concept 1 shoes.
We tested our shoes at a leading United States university's biomechanics lab with two biomechanics Ph.D's who specialize in vertical leap. To measure the vertical leap of the participants, we used both a vertec and Kistler Force Plates. We chose to use both a vertec and Kistler Force Plates because the vertec is what both the NBA and NFL combines use to measure the official vertical leap of the participants and Kistler Force Plates are considered the gold standard for measuring vertical leap within the scientific community. The Ph.D's compared Athletic Propulsion Labs® Concept 1 against a leading brands most expensive high performance basketball shoe.
The two biomechanics Ph.D's, who specialize in vertical leap, concluded that Athletic Propulsion Labs® Concept 1 provided a STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT increase in vertical leap compared to a leading brands most expensive high performance basketball shoe. Furthermore, they concluded that the participants were able to jump higher using less energy which translated to the wearer feeling lighter on their feet and more explosive for longer periods of time. The researchers independently observed and concluded participants were able to jump higher instantly. The Ph.D's noticed that the more the participants wore the shoes, the more they used the proper technique needed to correctly engage the device, which translated to higher jumps.
In the testing environment at this university's biomechanics lab, 11 of the 12 participants jumped higher instantly in Athletic Propulsion Labs® shoes compared to the leading brands most expensive high performance basketball shoe. In addition, some participants saw an increase of up to 3.5 inches instantly in their vertical leap. In a game that is all about inches and explosiveness, any extra increase a player achieves in vertical leap can potentially translate into grabbing more rebounds, blocking more shots, and even scoring more points.
The Science of Jumpology
The Athletic Propulsion Labs® Load ‘N Launch™ system is designed to maximize a player’s compression-propulsion-liftoff response.
We’ve dubbed this, "The Science of Jumpology."
How It Works
The Athletic Propulsion Labs® Concept 1 Basketball shoe technology is centered around a revolutionary patent-pending propulsion device, which is implanted in a cavity under the forefoot, in front of the ball of the foot and the flex zone. Further back on the outsole of the shoe lies the unique high density Thermosplastic Urethane Load ‘N Launch™ shank, which provides another level of engagement in the compression-propulsion-liftoff response. The propulsion shank provides a level of stability between the forefoot and the heel while also absorbing shock and enhancing the transfer of energy to the Load ‘N Launch™ forefoot device to maximize vertical leap performance.
Cushioning, Comfort and Energy Return
The beauty of the Load ‘N Launch™ device is that while it is embedded under the forefoot in the midsole, the individual wearing Athletic Propulsion Labs® basketball shoes cannot feel the device against their foot. In addition, we utilize extremely high rebound EVA in the midsole of the shoe, as well as in the insole that lies underneath the sockliner of the shoe. The resultant effect is that we maximize cushioning, comfort and the return of energy to the foot during the jumping or liftoff phase.
The Load Sequence
In the Load Sequence, the APL's Load ‘N Launch™ system relies upon an integrated response curve that begins the instant an athlete starts the jumping process. As the athlete applies force to the front of the foot during the Load Sequence in preparation for liftoff, the Load ‘N Launch™ forefoot device and the high-rebound EVA midsole compress in unison. This action generates an enormous amount of energy exerted downward into the device.
The Launch Sequence
During the Launch Sequence, the athlete begins to release the massive force that has been exerted downward and the energy is transferred in reverse order up through the Load ‘N Launch™ device. This reaction creates a dramatic sensation of lift that increases the vertical leap of the athlete wearing the shoe. While results will vary depending upon the athletic ability, physical condition, body weight and muscle fiber response levels within certain individuals, the Athletic Propulsion Labs® shoes featuring the Load ‘N Launch™ system have provided as much as 3.5 inches of additional vertical leap to athletes wearing the shoes. Because of the unique construction of the device and its location in the shoe, certain athletes have found that the more they wear the Athletic Propulsion Labs® shoes and understand what it can instantly do for them, the more benefit they seem to derive from the Load ‘N Launch™ device.
There are two phases in a runner's gait cycle: the Stance Phase and the Swing Phase. The Stance Phase is when the runner's foot is in contact with the ground, while the Swing Phase is when the runner's foot is in the air. The patented APL LOAD 'N LAUNCH® technology for running is specifically designed to enhance the "propulsion effect" at the toe-off phase of the gait cycle (in the Stance Phase) and reduce the amount of energy expended by the runner to achieve a given result.
The LOAD 'N LAUNCH® device for running shoes is implanted in a forefoot cavity and specifically engineered with 6 compression springs, which compress during foot strike, begin to release during mid stance and then fully release during the final stage of the Stance Phase, which is toe-off or "propulsion". In order to increase running speed an increase in force or pressure is required when the forefoot strikes the ground.
The LOAD 'N LAUNCH® 6-spring running device is designed to maximize force by combining the exertion produced by the runner with the compression/release assistance of the 6-spring system.
Propelium™ is a unique compound developed by APL® for use in its EVA running shoe midsole and outsole on the TechLoom Pro, TechLoom Phantom, TechLoom Bliss, TechLoom Breeze, TechLoom Wave, Big Logo TechLoom Slides, the Ascend, and TechLoom Chelsea training models. The material is designed to provide enhanced cushioning, shock absorption and energy generation, while extending the life of the midsole structure. Propelium helps the running shoe midsole maintain a higher level of structural integrity through extended use by the runner.