Shoes and socks may never be the same. Just as Chuck Taylor’s were made for basketball, not fashion, these products are using shoes in a new perspective – Big Data sensors. Shoes and socks can provide an infinite stream of information about our daily activities and provide feedback for our own interpretation or someone else’s.
Take a Right on …
These shoes give directions … with or without your phone … in case you are with or without eyesight.
These Runsafer shoes are for runners who might be a little lonely and/or would like feedback on their running performance. The notifications of fatigue or poor foot placement seem interesting but not the gotta-have category. Would be good for me though to break my plateau or prevent the hamstring pull.
These are the same biofeedback model, but in socks and a clip-on anklet. The metrics look a bit more sophisticated in this model. Kinda cool because socks are more likely to match your fav running shoes instead of try and replace them. It’s hard enough to get the right shoe for running.
This isn’t the sexiest video but OpenGo appears to do the same features of measuring and recording runner activity, specifically strike analysis. This seems like the best solution for the category, as the inserts supposedly could transfer from one shoe to another. Runners go through a lot of shoes AND socks.
Another biofeedback insole, Digitsole has the added benefit of warming your toes (and feet). The product isn’t designed for it, but I’d like it to keep my ski boots warm (because the chem pads don’t work so well for me). I’d like it even more if it would analyze my skiing and snowboarding, which has a lot of room for improvement.
Now You’re Getting Somewhere …
Solepower has created a battery that is charged by walking. The shoe insert charges the battery which then can be used to charge devices – most likely your phone. Super thinking! This prototype is a bit clunky though. The next gen products and services that can come from it are the market.
The Winner Is …
Rounding out the footwear category is Boogio, which is a flexible strip inserted into the sole. This product zooms out from the running or even sports to gaming and virtual reality. Great innovative design and market capture!
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For the bigger picture, check out my source for this post at Wearable Technologies.