Since Nike teamed up with Michael Jordan to bring Air Jordan to the rather stale sneaker market, the perfect gimmick was born. Celeb based, Nike led the way for the other brands to do the same. Now in the 21st century, the sneaker industry has turned to technology to help shift the quantities. Here are some of the best tech gimmicks that had us wanting to buy, buy, buy.
Nike [Self-tying Technology]
Back in 2015, we wrote about how the famous Nike sneakers with the power laces were going to become a reality. It was all over the news that Nike had filed a patent for self-lacing shoes similar and Tinker Hatfield took to the Agenda Emerge stage to tell his story about the innovation and design involved in creating Nike Mag sneakers.
In 2016, at the Nike Innovation Summit, the company introduced HyperAdapt 1.0. It was the first shoe to take advantage of Nike’s adaptive lacing (self-tying) technology. In the launch announcement, Nike touted the self-tying shoes as a way to reduce a typical athlete concern, distraction. Available in different colourways, it has been announced that on the 23rd February 2018, Nike had released the HyperAdapt 1.0 for consumers to own.
Not compromising on functionality or style, the fully waterproof knit Vessi Footwear shoe is the opposite of traditional waterproof shoes that tend to be stuffy and make your feet sweat and stink due to their lack of ability to regulate the dispersal of moisture.
A new alternative to heavy and outdated waterproof shoes, the sneaker is made of patented Flash-Knit Technology material that allows for easy cleaning thanks to Vessi’s hydrophobic surface treatment. Based on innovative engineering and design concepts, the waterproof, lightweight, breathable and moisture-wicking shoe is built from our proprietary one-piece circle knitting manufacturing process, which means no seams to allow water to come through.
Working with Parley for the Oceans, Adidas designed and created sea form green trainers that are quite easy on the eye. Using PET, plastic commonly used for water bottles, the new design is entirely made out of recycled plastic and brags white with teal thread stitches all fused together with bio-waste-powered steam.
The sad news was that Adidas only released 50 pairs of their limited edition trainers because apparently spinning plastic ocean trash into high-performance fibres is quite a hard thing to do. The new Adidas single upper, on one shoe, requires 16.5 old bottles and 13 grams of plastic from gill nets, now that’s a lot of bottles! I guess its better than the plastic is part of our shoe rather than be at the bottom of our oceans, that’s why it’s great to see Adidas successfully taking their environmentally sustainable idea from prototype to R.T.W. On the end product, Alexander Taylor, who is an industrial designer who works on special projects with Adidas, shared, “It’s a functional shoe in that you could put it on,” with Gutsch adding “With the right technology, you can turn old, bad plastic into new, good plastic—into something consumers can feel okay about buying. Like an Adidas running shoe”.
Sync Footwear [Customisation]
Sync Footwear is bringing Miami’s music and tech scene together. The stylish shoe syncs live music through an app on the user’s phone.Combining fashion, music and technology, Sync Footwear incorporates a circuit board, LED and rechargeable batteries hidden in the sole of the shoes. Through the use of advanced Bluetooth technology, users are able to communicate, control and customize their shoes.
Weighing the same as casual sneakers, the app-enabled shoes have been designed with a flexible sole and a cushion and padded insole for additional comfort. All internal components are sealed, water resistant and non-combustible. The Sync Footwear product line includes a low-cut microfiber style called “Digital” made in black or white, three low-cut reflective styles called the “Viper Remix”, “Tribal Remix” and “Sync Remix”, and a hi-top named “Matrix” in 3D metallic silver or gold.
Another adidas sneaker that gave us food for thought. At the beginning of 2018, the sports company unveiled the EQT Support 93/BerlinImagine trainers. Designed in a way that the wearer can ride around the German capital’s Metro for free for an entire year, the trainers feature a ‘Jahresticket’ (year pass) sewn into the tongue of the shoe.
Taking design cues from the vibrant prints that adorn the seats of the city’s transport system, MixMag.net made a great point when they stated that EQT Berlin is a good example of the clever ways sneaker companies are using technology to nudge their brand ahead in a competitive marketplace.
+rehabstudio [Smart Fabrics]
The Smart Surface Sneaker is the brainchild of +rehabstudio, a Shoreditch based creative technology agency. They have revolutionized sneakers through design, function and embracing the progression of smart tech materials such as conductive and reactive fibres. They are making it is easy for us to imagine the future of the sneaker transforming beyond being just a shoe. Their idea is to create a smart surface that thinks and reacts to external stimuli. The outcome will be that the sneaker’s design will be able to change through the tap of a smartphone or the click of a heel.
The shift sneaker will be designed with principal tech apparel that includes phase change fibres and shapes memory materials that will enable interchangeability materials that will manipulate fabric tissue and conductive threads are woven into the sneakers membrane to pass electrical signals that react to human touch. Although still only a concept, we live in hope that it is a shoe that will become reality.
Under Armour [Smart Fabrics]
Under Armour’s latest sneaker tech styles- the UA HOVR Sonic and UA HOVR Phantom- been designed with a new pinnacle cushioning system that promises to deliver not only a cushioned ride but also energy return.
The key component of the UA HOVR cushioning system is the ‘Energy Web’. It is a mesh fabric that wraps the cushioning core to deliver strong responsiveness and energy return. The midsole, which is made of a proprietary foam compound, in partnership with the innovators at Dow Chemical, ensures that the sneakers possess a super-soft durometer with incredible cushioning and shock absorption for every single foot strike.
New Balance [3D Printed]
New Balance worked on this project for quite some time. It was a collaboration with Jessica Rosenkrantz and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg, owners of the design company Nervous System. It involved integrating 3D printing and data to make structures. They focused on converting pressure data to a midsole with responsive cushioning. They used 3D printing to print out different structures, which meant no investment in tools was required in order to make the soles with different structures.
Vivobarefoot x Sensoria [Sensor Platform]
It is VIVOBAREFOOT’s mission to change the footwear industry with sustainable shoes. They usually use recycled, locally sourced material and they have patented, ultra-thin puncture-resistant sole that protects the foot and allows for maximum sensory feedback. At CES 2017, the London based brand partnered up with Sensoria, a leading developer of smart garments and IoMe (Internet of Me) wearable artificial intelligence solutions. Together they brought an IoT-Enabled Running Shoe to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Integrated with Sensoria Core, a key component of the new Sensoria Development Kit, the new shoe detects forces exerted by a runner. With the aim to combat the problem that running incorrectly can generate Davide Vigano, co-founder and CEO of Sensoria shared,“The new VIVOBAREFOOT, powered by Sensoria smart shoe leverages our new microelectronics and is able to monitor – in real-time – speed, pace, cadence, GPS track, foot landing technique, time on the ground, impact score and eventually, asymmetry and toe engagement. These are all important metrics to monitor natural running and reduce risk of injury.”
Made with love for Innovation, Shiftwear is a brand that aims to make customizing your own sneakers from your smartphone a reality. Since launching their Indiegogo campaign, Shiftwear is now available to order.
Designed in New York, the sneakers have the ability to charge as you walk, using your energy, and had advanced wireless connectivity that lets you pair and shares with any device. With a flexible display, you can also charge your shoes on a charging pad. Waterproof, durable, stain/oil/dirt resistant, the great thing about Shiftwear is that there are custom colour options make every pair unique.