One of the top Olympic sportswear innovations include Nikes Pro TurboSpeed track and field suits

One of the top Olympic sportswear innovations include Nike's Pro TurboSpeed track and field suits

As the 2012 London Olympics approaches, sportswear firms are looking to align their brands with athletes' success by launching new technical innovations. Here are five of the best unveiled in the lead-up to the Games.

  • In February, Nike launched its Pro TurboSpeed track and field suits, claiming to help US athletes run up to 0.023 seconds faster over 100m. New features include "zoned aerodynamics", small dimples in the fabric designed to help athletes go further and faster and reduce aerodynamic drag. Another feature is Aeroswift technology, a printing process that has been modified for use as a construction technique, to build textures that create an aerodynamic effect. Elastics and edge finishes on the outside of the suit help to eliminate bulkiness and abrasions.
  • Nike's Hyper Elite basketball uniform is designed to help boost players' performance by increasing air circulation. The jersey, which is made from 96% recycled polyester, helps pull sweat away from the skin via its 3D-structured Dri-Fit fabric. The Hyper Elite shorts weigh in at 14 ounces lighter than most other shorts, and also have the Dri-Fit features.
  • Adidas launched its Adizero Feather running shoe last August to support athletes in the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The shoe is said to be the lightest everyday running shoe, helping athletes to run faster and improve their performance. It weighs 6.7oz for a men's size 8.5 and 5.6oz for a women's size 5.5, and features Adidas's new 'Sprintframe Platform', a torsion system attached to the upper allowing movement of the foot. The shoe also contains sprintweb, a lightweight mesh constructed from bonded thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) material for comfort, support and breathability. 
  • Puma's evoSpeed, its latest performance collection, was introduced at the beginning of June. It aims to enhance athletes' speed with its lightweight materials, increased flexibility and an optimised fit, allowing greater freedom to move without compromising support. The evoSpeed footwear collection includes shoes for running, football and indoor sports. The Bolt evoSpeed runner is inspired by the performance spikes Usain Bolt will be wearing during the Olympics. Puma says the shoe is breathable, flexible and features its evoFoam lightweight cushioning.
  • Last year, Speedo launched a racing system for swimmers, which it said would allow Olympic athletes to cut through the water with maximum efficiency and enable them to swim stronger for longer. Fastskin3, which includes a cap, goggles and a suit, has been approved by the sport's international governing body FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation). Speedo claims the suit offers full-body passive drag reduction of up to 16.6%, an 11% improvement in the swimmer's oxygen economy, and a 5.2% reduction in body active drag.