Inside BoaFit & HydraPak: Pushing the Boundaries of Shoe Fit and Hydration Technology

Tayte Pollmann’s articles are supported by American Trail Running Association corporate member Nike Trail Running. You can follow Tayte’s adventures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Last week Peter Maksimow and I toured the headquarters of Boa in Denver, CO. Boa is an international company specialized in developing products with their patented fitting system, The BoaFit System, which improves the fit of shoes and other accessories in a variety of industries for optimal performance. The system uses three integral parts: “a micro-adjustable dial, super-strong lightweight laces, and low-friction guides.”

Cycling, mountaineering, construction work, tennis, golf, basketball, track and field, road running, and trail running are just some of the industries in which Boa has a presence. Attesting to the growing popularity of Boa products, roughly 80% of the 2019 Tour de France riders use BoaFit in their cycling shoes. Boa is similarly growing in the trail running industry. They have partnered with Saucony, Adidas and New Balance to create trail running shoes that utilize the Boa technology. Listed below are some of my top reasons trail runners should consider trying trail shoes with the Boa system.

Custom Fit and Simplicity
Boa allows your shoes to better fit your feet. This gives you increased grip on winding trails and secures your feet in the shoes when making lateral movements. Proper fit reduces movement in the shoe, helping you avoid blisters over the course of longer trail runs.

Boa’s dial system is more simple than lacing systems. Simply push down on the dial and turn it forwards to tighten the laces. Pull the dial out and the laces immediately loosen. Runners can enjoy a perfect fit without having to worry about their laces coming untied or tangling during runs.

Close Brand Interaction and Intricate Design Process
Boa partners with Saucony, Adidas and New Balance to design trail shoes using the Boa technology. Boa develops close relationships with these companies and designs products to match the specific needs of each company. The BoaFit system is not simply added to any shoe, but goes through phases of testing and innovation to create a BoaFit system that works specifically with the shoe’s unique design.

Performance Lab Tested
Boa’s performance research lab is currently partnered with the University of Denver to test all Boa products for optimal performance. In the coming months, they hope to publish scientific research that can help explain some of the benefits for Boa systems for trail running. Energy return as a result of better fit is one topic currently being researched in their lab.

The second part of our Boa tour included a presentation from HydraPak, a partner of Boa. HydraPak is the global leader in hydration reservoirs and soft flasks in the running market. HydraPak has partnerships with top brands in the running market, including GU, Salomon, Nathan, Osprey, Amphipod, Ultraspire, and Patagonia. Similar to Boa, HydraPak develops strong partnerships with their brands to make products that work specifically for each brand. Listed below are several key features that make HydraPak’s products beneficial for trail runners.

Isobound Technology Keeps Liquids Cooler
HydraPak recently released the Velocity IT, the first insulated reservoir in the running market. The technology keeps fluids “38% cooler when compared to a standard reservoir.” This reservoir is a great choice for those running in hot conditions for long periods of time.

Lightweight and Easy Portability
HydraPak is known for their lightweight and easily portable designs. The 200ml Speedcup is small, lightweight and can easily be tucked into your shorts pocket after use. The Speedcup has been used by events going cupless as a replacement for plastic cups.
Another lightweight option is the SoftFlask 500ml. This handheld soft flask is perfect for shorter distances.

Quality Materials
HydraPak products are made from a TPU film for “superior elasticity and strength-to-weight ratios.” Although some say TPU imparts a slight plastic taste, I didn’t notice this when I used the products. If you do notice a plastic taste, try mixing lemon water in your HydraPak product and it should remove the taste.

All HydraPak products meet or exceed FDA and EU regulations for safety, and are BPA and PVC free. Their products have a lifetime guarantee and have been tested to withstand temperatures ranging from “desert heat to arctic cold.” They are easily washable. If you have any trouble cleaning your products, try BottleBright, an environmentally friendly and effective cleaning tablet that works well with hydration reservoirs and bottles.

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