Too many everyday objects have been been made unnecessarily smart. Kettles, toothbrushes, coffee machines... shoes. Why would shoes need to be connected to the internet? For good reason, as I found out from Iofit at MWC.
The startup’s created a line of smart running trainers and golf shoes, which analyse your stance, weight distribution and technique. Branded Smart Balance, they feature sensor-laden soles, which collect your data and feed it back to a dedicated app. The software pairs this up with video footage, and visualises the information, breaking it into bitesize chunks.
I tried out Iofit’s golf shoe sensors, and had a lot of fun in the process. In around a minute, the system pinpointed the weaknesses of my swing, displaying footage of my attempt alongside that of a far superior golfer. The differences in movement were clear. Right away, I could see what I was doing wrong.
Using the in-app annotation tools, the Iofit guys quickly pointed out my bad habits, and advised me on how to tackle them by running through the footage frame by frame. In an attempt to conjure up extra power, I was leaning on my back foot, though I was also stood too upright and forgot to lift my right heel at the end of the swing (the excitement got to me).
Not a bad breakdown, considering it only took a couple of minutes.
Smart shoes aren’t just about technology, of course. Fortunately, Iofit’s done a terrific job with design and build too. I pulled on a pair of running shoes, and they were light, comfortable and supportive. I wouldn’t describe them as truly beautiful, but they’re more than good-looking enough for me.
The team’s taking the product to Kickstarter this summer, though it hasn’t yet worked out how much cash it hopes to raise. Final retail prices for the trainers are $199 (£140), with the golf shoes set to cost $249 (£175), though Kickstarter backers will be able to bag discounts.