A lot of competitors this summer in Beijing will be carbing up on rice, but who would have guessed that the world's most popular grain could also be a key part of the shoes they may wear to Olympic glory? Today's New York Times has a really interesting and detailed piece on Asics' master shoe maker, Hitoshi Mimura, and his current generation of racing flats that integrate rice husks into the sole (story). The rice supposedly has gripping properties that could help on the slick or rain-soaked surfaces expected on the Olympic marathon course. Mimura's roster of Olympic champions he's custom shod is quite impressive, even more so is the 3.8 ounce flat he developed for reigning champion, Mizuki Noguchi. The article's well worth the surf over to the Grey Lady's website.
(photo by Mostafa Saeednejad , used under Creative Commons)