Jog on: These high-tech shoes know how to make you a better runner
Running shoe manufacturer Altra teamed up with iFit, a company that specializes in fitness wearables and associated software, to produce the IQ. The shoes have been a long time coming, since they were originally announced in mid-2015, but finally, the shoes are almost ready for sale. We saw the final version at the Gadget Show Live in the U.K.. On the outside, the IQ looks like many other Altra sneakers, particularly because of the distinctive wide toe box, which is apparently foot-shaped to give the toes more space, reduce the chance of injury, and increase stability.
It’s what’s hidden deep inside the soles that makes these shoes different. A super-thin sensor inside the sole runs from heel to toe, and it’s controlled by a tiny chip to provide information on form, technique, style, and more. It’s information that’s usually only available when you hire an expert to analyze your form, which is something that few amateur runners will ever experience.
The shoes link to a dedicated iFit smartphone app, which compiles all this data. The app shows if you’re landing harder on one foot and whether impact concentrates on your heel rather than the mid foot or toes. It can also tell you stride length, speed, distance travelled, the amount of ground contact time, and cadence. All this information is crucial to working out where you need to improve.
The app will provide real-time suggestions on how to adjust your form, increase performance, and cut down the chances of picking up an injury. Vincent Tresca, an iFit representative, told Digital Trends that the data and information provided by the Altra IQ can’t be collected by a simple insole replacement, either. Outside of pro-coaching and monitoring equipment, it’s almost impossible to gain this level of feedback.