By Steve Outing
The digital gadgets that keep coming out are either amazingly cool and you have to have them (that’s often me), or they’re getting ridiculous and nobody really needs them. I had a bit of both of those reactions to Nike’s new shoes, which “talk” to your iPod Nano. The deal is that the shoes keep track of your running pace and announce information about your run periodically (like pace), interrupting the music you’re listening to on the Nano.
Very cool. And also a tad absurd; electronic shoes seem like something I can live without. But then maybe I’m being an old fuddy-duddy, and many runners will flock to these things. I’m not against digital technology assisting running and biking; I’m a fan of heart-rate monitors that track not only HR but also altitude, temperature, etc.
A challenge to this shoe technology is that there are so many different running shoes available. I won’t buy just any shoe; mine have to have lots of motion-control support. Is Nike planning to make every possible shoe in its line available with this technology? If it doesn’t, runners who understand the importance of proper shoes will stay away.