A number of new sports gadgets were displayed on the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week, such as the Lumo Run sports pants, that measures your speed or the Radar Pace sunglasses that tells you exactly what to do during your workout. However, the market of 'sport wearables' is far from saturated: in the next few years, the smart sports footwear is the main focus.
Sports footwear with a special chip or with a sole that tells you where to go: Joop Veenstra of the Centrum voor Sportpodologie (Centre for Sports Podiatry) from the Dutch town of Drachten greatly anticipates the newest gadgets in the field of jogging. "Technique and functionality come first, user comfort comes second. That's why there are so many gadgets, but not all of them work perfectly yet."
Like the sports footwear from Nike+. "Nike was the first to come up with this. A true enhancement, I feel, because the jogger doesn't have to carry anything anymore.'' However, the shoes by Nike+ are not entirely practical yet. This is why the famous sports brand is industriously working on new trainers which already contain a chip. Only recently, Nike has applied for a patent for these.
Other sports brands are now also producing smart jogging footwear. Under Armour - at the moment the fastest growing sports brand in the world - started to cooperate with the technology specialist HTC. The running shoe SpeedForm Gemini 2 will be in American stores soon, and is available together with special expensive ear plugs, a scale and of course its own app.
The American sports brand New Balance has even created its own department dedicated to 'Digital Sport': the first products are expected next year. Sports podiatrist Veenstra says: "It´s all becoming more portable, and that is a big step ahead. Especially for runners who want to keep track of all the running data, but who wish to carry with them as little as possible, these devices are a great invention.''
The heart rate belt is a good example of annoying sports technology: many people who use it are bothered by the belt. "The technology works well now", Veenstra explains, "and then they'll try to develop a more comfortable model." He points out the example of the sports bra by Ombra, which was presented on the American technology fair. He jokes: "but I'm not sure whether this will be a great success among men..."