If you know Digitsole at all, it’s probably for the company’s connected, heated insoles. This year at CES, the company is building upon its inner-shoe expertise with something decidedly more ambitious. This time out, it’s making the whole damn shoe.
As far as names go, “The Active Cushioning Run Profiler” isn’t exactly the next Air Jordan. I’m also holding out judgment until I see a pair in action later this week, but they don’t exactly look to be the sexiest pair of sneaker around.
Of course, neither of those are really the chief concern here at the moment. This isn’t the first time the company has shown off a shoe concept (it had a pair of exceedingly bulky self-lacers at a past-CES), but this does appear to be the first time it’s ready to really bring them to market, with plans to make them available at retail by year’s end.
And these new kicks promise a lot, including adaptive cushioning that supposedly shifts support as the user goes for a run, in order to improve performance and lesson impact injuries. It sounds too good to be true, though the company says it’s been working on the technology for more than three years and describes it thusly:
A NeoTech microcellular polymer which modifies the hardness of different zones of the midsole by introducing tiny amounts of energy.
Apparently the stuff takes effect based on the level of force detected by sensors that detect five distinct zones of the foot. It will be showing the shoes off at an event later today, so perhaps we’ll see it in action.
The system also does your standard array of fitness tracking, naturally, including speed, distance, steps and calories. It also has a built-in method for diagnosing fatigue, so runners don’t push themselves too far.
Also, weirdly (as if all that weren’t weird enough), there’s an audio coaching feature built into the app, akin to what you get with a number of fitness headphones, designed to offer up workout tips without having to take out your phone.