Product reviews/05/13/2024

ISPO Award Winner 2024: The Kboix running shoe from NNormal

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With the Kboix, trail running brand NNormal has developed a modular shoe that offers a whole host of innovations: By making the midsole interchangeable, it can be adapted to different needs and is also repairable. A digital environment links the shoe, the brand and the consumer with even more practical services.

Winner of the ISPO Award 2024: The Kboix multisport shoe from NNormal.

The Kboix is a modular multisport shoe available with three interchangeable midsoles. Each sole is designed for different terrains, intensities and body types, and can be swapped as required. There is a soft EVA-based sole that is more suitable for light training runs, a slightly harder and more responsive TPU supercritical foam sole, and a more cushioned PEBA-based midsole for long-distance runners.

The Kboix is available with three different midsoles.
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Personalisation and repairability in one

With the modular design, NNormal not only wants to increase the range of use of the shoe, but also create a way for runners to repair their shoes. The first part of a running shoe to lose its durability and function is always the midsole. It usually loses its responsiveness after 300 to 500 kilometres. Until now, there has been no option other than to buy a completely new shoe, even if the old shoe still has intact components. By replacing the midsole, the life of the shoe can be significantly extended compared to conventionally constructed shoes.

Collaboration with sole specialist Vibram

Repairability also has an impact on the other components: NNormal has chosen a particularly robust upper material from French manufacturer Chamatex. The highly breathable and durable Matryx Jacquard upper is woven from individually coated polyamide and Kevlar yarns. The dyeing process uses between 50 and 95 per cent less water than conventional dyeing methods. The concept is complemented by a lightweight and grippy outsole from sole specialist Vibram, which reduces the overall weight of the outsole by up to 30 per cent. The partnership with Vibram also allows the outsoles of NNormal shoes to be resoled and repaired. Selected Vibram shoemakers in France, Italy and Spain have been specially trained to resole NNormal shoes and repair certain shoe components.

You can connect to the ‘NNormal world’ via an individual QR code in the shoe.
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Added value through the digital NNormal world

With the Kboix, customers can dive even deeper into the 'NNormal World'. This is the digital environment where consumers can access training tips and advice from the brand after they have bought the shoe. They can connect instantly via a personalised QR code in the shoe. It is also possible to link the Strava digital platform to the Kboix, which in turn helps to track all the training sessions completed with the Kboix. All you have to do is enter the ID from the QR code into the app. It also alerts the user when it is time to replace the midsole or have it repaired.

This convinced the jury:

  • Modular shoe construction with replaceable midsoles
  • Repairability
  • Option to resole the Vibram sole
  • Digital ‘NNormal world’ for additional services

Statement from NNormal:

“With the Kboix project, we embarked on a journey to create footwear that completely deviates from the traditional footwear concept of bonding parts. We push not only ourselves but also the industry towards a modular concept where we offer a service model with the purchase of the shoe. Our aim was not only to inspire people but also to create a durable shoe designed for repairability at its end of life. It was a significant challenge in itself, and we are honored to have received an ISPO Award for it. This recognition motivates us to continue seeking innovative ways to change the rules of the game within the footwear industry.”
Birte Fahrbach, NNormal Head of Product

What the jury says:

“Interchangeable midsoles are a game changer in the running shoe sector. They extend the use of a shoe and, for the first time, allow it to be repaired. Combined with robust materials and the option of re-soling, this is a very well thought-out concept.”
Jury ISPO Award
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