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Wearable tech gear will be all the rage this year as numerous running brands and electronics companies release new run-enhancing gadgets, gizmos, apps, shoes and apparel.
Several running brands incorporated electronics into shoe models in the dark ages of wearable technology. Among the initial attempts were the Puma RS-100 Computer Shoe (1986), LA Gear CrossRunner shoes with red LED lights in the heels (1992) and the adidas 1 (2005). The adidas 1, which sold for $250, had a small motor built into the midsole of the shoe that would turn a cable and change the compression characteristics of the cushioning between every stride.
Now several brands are developing ways to take high-tech footwear to another level. One of the first products to be announced is Altra’s new neutral-oriented Halo shoe.
The shoe, which is built with Altra’s signature zero-drop profile, is highlighted by a razor-thin sensor (made by iFit) that’s built into the midsole of the shoe, allowing runners to get feedback in real time on foot strike zone, cadence and ground force impact.
Rather than waiting for a gait analysis the next time you visit a running store, Altra is touting the ability for runners to have one every time out.
“The opportunity with the Altra Halo shoe is real-time feedback as you run, so you can quickly adjust and improve your running form before bad habits take hold,” said Brian Beckstead, vice president of sales for Altra.
The data from the sensor can be displayed either on your smartphone through an app or on the iFit’s new GPS watches, the Ridge and the Peak.
The shoe and watch were introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show on Jan. 7 in Las Vegas. Altra anticipates a release of the Halo shoe in December 2015. The iFit Ridge watch ($149) will be available July 1.