Smart shoes have been revolutionizing the future of footwear with an assertive introduction of technology in product designing. From measuring athletic performance to tracking fitness and evaluating health metrics, smart shoes are here to provide personalized feedback to users.
For decades the footwear industry is focused on promoting style, comfort, durability, and basic functionality.
These days’ consumers are looking mainly from significant trends like athleisure's rise and the growing popularity of fitness as a lifestyle. The type of extra value these consumers seek will be provided by footwear makers (by 2024) that incorporate "smart" textiles.
As for investors, this takeaway is pretty straightforward. Footwear companies are adopting a vision of how they will bring their products into the future and give consumers precisely what they want. The manufacturers on the cutting edge of material science and consumer research are willing to deliver influencing outcomes and consistent financial performance.
Let's look at some explicit examples of what the future of footwear might look like, based on what we're discussing in the product pipeline today.
High-Tech Innovations That Will Definitely Change The Footwear Industry
1. 3D Printing In Footwear
3D printers are being more precise and efficient, cheap footwears, especially regarding the costs of items production.
Adidas, in 2017, announced the mass production of 3D-printed shoes and manufactures 100,000 pairs under this process until 2018 and more now.
While 3D printers still have a long future to go when it comes to efficiency and costs. Especially in mass production, companies are already gaining some benefits from using them. For instance, allowing younger generations, who value individualization, to design and produce their shoes!
2. Augmented And Virtual Reality
Using a VR helmet or augmented technology is an excellent way to involve consumers in different and immersive experiences for promoting brand events. For instance, VR and AR can boost the footwear shopping experience for consumers, and brands won't even have to increase the in-store size for this innovation.
On the other hand, tommy Hilfiger used Samsung’s VR technology to connect consumers inside a store to a brand event about their promotional events.
Key Features Of Innovative Footwear
Because all consumers desire comfort, footwear designers have taken their innovations further to provide it as efficiently as possible. With cross-industry collaboration, everyday problematic issues (such as sweating and unraveling laces) can be solved with these innovations.
There are now shoes having heating and massage pads and automatically fixing features. In the future, it is expected that shoes will even contain technology that will arouse nerves to improve health.
1. Footwear As Perfectly Fitted As Cinderella's
"Generation Xers are more interested in personalized products than opting for a brand's logo," said Jason Goldberg, the SYP of commerce from Razorfish."
One way of offering customized footwear is with 3D involvement. 3D scanning helps consumers get the perfect fit.
Companies such as new balance use Volumental, a 3D scanning technology that uses real sense cameras to analyze feet and then offers recommendations on footwear models that suit the individual.
Likewise, fitfully offers a similar service for private consumers who want to do their shoe shopping online. The app shows a pressure map of how a foot will fit specific shoe models.
Multiple brands also currently use 3D scanning to produce not the whole footwear yet, but a customized midsole. Ecco, as an example, uses 3D scanning and wearable sensors in test shoes to create a 3D model of the best fitting midsole that is then 3D printed. The whole process takes a few hours only and provides the consumer with the best-fitting shoes.
2. Smart Sensors To Navigate The Living
With the continuous development of sports sensors, footwear has not been left out of the picture! Soft embedded sensor networks are circuits of flexible sensors and embedded into shoes to measure the biomechanical data. This data helps individuals keeping track of their movement habits and, in the best case, helps prevent injuries.
Such as, Stridalyzer is an insole that identifies force and pressure and can help in injury prevention.
Additionally, shoes have been extended to have pedometers and GPS systems implemented in them. HP, for instance, designed Lechal haptic footwear that works as a navigation system when they are connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth.
A new strategy to make shoes smarter is by inserting a screen into them. Shiftwear allows users to control and change what picture or video is shown on a flexible full HD display on their footwear. Their screen is being charged with kinetic energy while walking, and the boots are both waterproof and resistant to stains. Shiftwear has revolutionized footwear customization by letting wearers communicate their style, opinions, and values in a moving picture.
3. Sustainable footwear production
To a sustainable future, larger organizations have changed their production methods to be more eco-friendly. The current trend is to tackle out plastic pollution via the recycling process.
Vivobarefoot has utilized 17 recycled water bottles for each line of shoe.
By 2024, Adidas has also taken their step towards the cause by declaring only to use recycled products.
Allbirds offer a different sustainable way for footwear production. The brand introduced a new collection of footwear made of eucalyptus pulp called the "tree collection." this production utilizes 5% of the water and a third of the land space typically used to create typical footwear materials.
Key Players That Follow Footwear Innovation In The Market
While the footwear industry is still in its infancy, many shoe companies haven't stopped releasing their smart shoes with efficient trackers. Some key players in the footwear industry are mentioned below:
1. JD Sports
JD Sports is a most well-known brand with a high quality branded collection of different products but specialized in the footwear of various types at affordable prices to make it valuable for everyone. They are working with the most popular brands that provide innovative footwear to their customers. Brands like Nike and Adidas are their best partners.
World's biggest shoe company, Nike, recently launched innovative self-lacing hyper adapt 1.0 shoes. The shoes have influenced sensors in the soles that sense out the foot inside. It triggers an algorithm that allows foots an automatic lacing. With integrated LEDs in Nike shoes, the shoes can alert a user of a low battery or a tight fit. Plus, these shoes do not need charging every day, and the charge can last up to two weeks.
3. Under Armour
Hovr Phantom and Hovr Sonic shoes were released in February 2018 by Under Armour. There collections have inbuilt sensors to record several metrics, important for runners. These include pace, distance, stride, steps, and cadence. Their chip-laden footwears can be easily synced to the map My Run App and are compatible with iOS and Android phones. The users can experience zero gravity and great energy run with the shoes' excellent cushioning properties and comfort.
Smart shoes by Digitsole feature a wide range of uses and are fit for everyone. These fashionable interactive shoes provide personalized feedback to analyze health, steps, fatigue, posture, and calories and create precise data for improving your health and preventing injuries. You can easily connect it to Bluetooth 4.0 device and provides personalized coaching in real-time via a smartphone app. The lightweight next-generation shoe design boasts auto-lacing and temperature regulation.
Xiaomi, another big player in the footwear industry, has developed chip-laden Mijia smart shoes. These shoes are easily connected to Xiaomi's Mifit App to detect speed, distance, calories, hours slept, and even weight. By just shaking the boots, one can connect and synchronize the data with the app. Moreover, these shoes possess long battery life.
6. Altra Torin IQ
These shoes feature razor-thin, lightweight sensors and transmitters to provide data for each foot individually. Moreover, they provide live training feedback, including impact rate, pier zone, distance, pace, communication time, and cadence. The coaching can be made audible depending on the preference of the racers. Altra IQ shoes join directly to the company's Ifit App on smartphones. App screen settings are easily customizable, with feedback relayed in real-time.
Our Final Call
These shoes are incredibly comfortable in warm weather as the element naturally lets moisture out. The companies also use the most precise sustainable forestry standard to protect trees, wildlife, and personalities.