Beach volleyball is in vogue, and players need a shoe that offers traction on sand but is still comfortable to wear on hard surfaces, says Nike of Beaverton, Oregon. Its solution looks a little like a miniature hovercraft. The sole is made of soft foam studded with downward-pointing fins, with a rubbery lip that forms a skirt around the edge. On a beach, the lip traps sand underneath the shoe, giving the fins greater traction. But if the player runs onto a harder surface the lip and fins g give a spri ngy feel, cushi oni ng the foot * (W02005/03700^). Barry F®c •

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