The Urethane Blog

BASF and Brooks Create PU Cushioned Running Shoe

BASF polyurethane powers high energy return in new Brooks Levitate running shoes

New DNA AMP midsole using BASF technology delivers high energy return for leading performance running shoes

Polyurethane cushioning system is tailor-made for Brooks Running


WYANDOTTE, MI, September 20, 2017 – BASF’s polyurethane-based cushioning system is powering the latest innovation for runners with the launch of the all-new Brooks Levitate with DNA AMP performance running shoe available starting September 30.

Based on seven years of run research and in partnership with BASF, the Brooks Levitate is the first to feature the DNA AMP midsole, which is made from a new blend of BASF’s Elastopan® Sports Light material. By refining the formula and making modifications to polyurethane on a molecular level, the DNA AMP midsole offers enhanced comfort and durability and provides runners 72 percent of energy return for every foot-pound of force (per Brooks‘ test method).

“Brooks Running is widely recognized as a leader in performance running shoes,” said Chau Nguyen, footwear market manager for BASF in North America. “Through our partnership to develop the all-new Levitate, BASF used its performance materials expertise to create a polyurethane midsole that is tailor-made for Brooks.”

This new cushioning material expands under the runner’s foot, returning more energy as force is applied; leading to less energy expended during a run. In addition, compared to traditional midsole materials such as ethylene-vinyl-acetate, BASF’s high performance polyurethane formulations improve the compression set effectiveness – the ability of the midsole to retain its original thickness – providing lasting wear and functionality during the life of the shoe.

“We are seeing two key trends within the athletic shoe market: consumer demand for lightweight, comfortable and durable shoes and increased focus on automating the footwear production process,” said Nguyen. “The result is renewed interest in and use of high performance polyurethane for athletic shoes.”

For more than forty years, footwear manufacturers have relied on BASF’s material expertise and innovations in custom-tailored polyurethane systems and thermoplastic polyurethane elastomers for making all types of soles. As consumers continue to seek high-quality products that can improve their experience, BASF collaborates directly with leading brands throughout the entire development process, enhancing existing technologies or developing new technologies to meet performance demands.

“The Brooks Levitate with DNA AMP is engineered from the ground up to deliver runners an infinitely energetic experience,” said Zach Boteilho, senior innovation developer at Brooks Running. “We are excited to partner with BASF to bring to life the revolutionary new DNA AMP midsole technology that releases energy straight back to the runner, making the experience so fun they can run forever.”