Sports, business & technology

Insane sports tech gear for runners

micropacer.jpgWhile flipping through a Hong Kong gossip mag, I came across an article on an adidas “Consortium Series Micropacer Hamper.” Yeah, my thoughts exactly. Does this hamper automatically wash my clothes and save me a trip to the Laundromat?

It’s actually a pair of limited-edition, retro blue suede sneakers, with a “micropacer” embedded in the left shoe. Doubling as a stopwatch, this micropacer tracks the number of steps that the wearer takes. The two-page spread in FACE Magazine mentions that the shoes come with 10 accessories, including a USB drive, a lanyard and, of course, a Qee figure (small plastic toy figurines that originated in Hong Kong in 1995 and are produced in limited runs; if you live in the U.S., you can find them at places like Kidrobot). But back to the technology. The micropacer seems to be a gimmick, but the HK$2,980 (about US$383) shoes are actually a recent re-release of adidas’ 1984 editions, signaling their sustained popularity.

Another new gadget that adidas just released is the miCoach. The company partnered with Samsung on what it touts as a “total coaching system” for runners. It’s a phone! It’s an MP3 player! It creates a training plan just for you! The deluxe version of the phone comes with two separate devices that measure your running strides (a sensor is placed in one of your shoes) and your heart rate (a monitor in the shape of a belt is wrapped around your waist), then collects this data to be synced up with, where you can create customized training plans based on the information that your phone receives. For now, though, you still need your actual human coach; although the deluxe version will put you out of pocket by US$613, the phone is only available in Europe for now.

Finally, a Swiss company has devised what it calls “physiological footwear.” Called Masai Barefoot Technology – this is patented – the shoes promise the following benefits:

• Better posture
• Increased “buttock muscle activity” (+9%)
• Increased “rear thigh muscle activity” (+19%)
• Increased “lower limbs activity” (+18%)
• Increased “abdominal muscle activity” (interestingly, the animated diagram doesn’t list a percentage increase for this one)
• Decreased stress on hip and knee joints (-19%)

Apparently this is possible due to the different layers in the sole, which conform to foot movements and distribute pressure throughout the feet, even when standing still. And unlike the previous two products, the Masai shoes are much easier to find stateside. But are they worth US$245? Maybe I really should crack open that pair of tights that I bought in Japan a couple of years ago that, when worn, claim to burn 416 kcals an hour. (Those were less than US$10.)


March 9, 2008 - Posted by | fashion, running | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] to deflect the shock resulting from heels pounding the pavement. These seem to differ slightly from the Masai shoes that I wrote about last month. While the Masai shoes also have slightly curved soles, they are also being touted as casual as […]

    Pingback by Heal our heels, O Healus « Sportsbiztech | April 14, 2008 | Reply

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