New smart shoes offer fitness and shopping optimization

More than half of young people in the U.S. are interested in technology that lets them track their performance, and this desire doesn't stop at their wrists. From smart mattresses to smart pain relievers, young consumers are open-minded about what wearables can offer. Smart shoes are the latest category capturing their attention, providing services that go well beyond the basic.


On display at CES 2017, Digitsole heels by Zhor-Tech will be offered in two styles. Both pairs will house the heated insoles and tracking technology of prior Digitsole products, but one will also feature an adjustable heel. The product connects to a wearer’s smartphone app via Bluetooth; heat can be managed individually in each shoe, which also tracks steps, distance, speed, and calories burned. Meanwhile, the style with the adjustable heel height can transform from 1.7 to 3.1 inches, reflecting the rising trend of tech designed with women in mind.


Typically sold through third-party retailers, Hari Mari felt like they were missing out on an opportunity to capture important customer data. The company wants to fix this with its latest men's flip flop. Created with leather from famous baseball glove producer Nokona, the shoe is embedded with a chip that enables near-field communication. Wearers download the app, giving both Hari Mari and Nokona the ability to track their movement when near a store, save their personal information, and send them notifications. Hari Mari imagines this becoming more common in the future of retail, though for some consumers, it could raise privacy concerns.


Many new additions to the smart athletic wear family involve embedding sensors directly into the clothing. Torin IQ shoes by Altra are the latest iteration of this technology, but the product goes even further than tracking the usual athletic attributes like speed and distance covered. The shoes are actually intended to measure the actual way people run to read potential risk factors and avoid future injuries. Each foot is divided into four areas, and sensors send updates to the connected app in real time so that wearers can receive feedback and tips on form as well as motivational messages.