KNOW YOUR TECH breaks down the scientific technology used in your favorite sneakers and activewear. Let’s demystify your next purchase: today’s technology is Brooks Hydroflow cushioning. This retro technology has been utilized in Brooks Running performance models for over 20 years, and although its popularity has waned due to the introduction of DNA cushioning, the silicone-based cushioning is still a mainstay in many of the brand's sneakers.
What is it? A system of chambers filled with a silicone oil which helps to disperse pressure as the foot hits the ground, absorb shock, and comfort the runner. The fluid serves as a soft base for the heel, wrapping around the foot upon impact.
How does it work? As the foot makes its heel strike, the silicone liquid is pushed from the center of the chamber to the outer channels. As the liquid moves to the edges of the heel for support, the center of the Hydroflow configuration acts as a crash pad for shock absorption. As soon as pressure is released, the liquid flows back into the center chamber in preparation for the next gait cycle.
Bottom line: Although Hydroflow is no longer the brand's top tier cushioning setup, its benefits are still suitable for everything from marathons to casual walking.