Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Future of Running Shoes is Here: Custom-Built Shoes!

Imagine having sensors attached to your ankles, shins, and knees and then asked to do a series of knee bends and run a few steps on a treadmill equipped with a camera. Sounds like the lab of a strange scientist, doesn't it?  Shoe manufacturer, Brooks, now has a device that will capture a runner's motion precisely... examining the runner's biomechanics. It will analyze how far the knees point away from each other and how the swing of the hips affects the knees.

Brooks is working with the tech company HP to combine a runner’s gait information with a three-dimensional foot scan generated by HP’s new FitStation device. HP’s technology can measure pressure along the foot as it lands in each stride. This data helps Brooks to determine how much polyurethane to inject into a shoe’s sole to achieve the right density for as many as 30 zones of your foot. Here’s how it works:

  • You start by filling in a profile with some basic info: name, weight, height, etc.
  • You walk barefoot (or in light colored socks) naturally across a nondescript mat. The system will analyze your gait, joint movement, and foot pressure.
  • Next, you place one foot at a time on a glass box. The FitStation will scan each foot to create a 3D rendering.
  • The FitStation will provide a summary with some insights, including basic stats such as the length and width of each foot and gait pattern, as well as some deeper insights. The whole process to set up your profile takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Finally, your personal FitStation analysis is translated into specific features for each shoe. State-of-the-art machinery produces your shoe with the features built just for you and then ships them to your home.

Brooks is currently testing FitStation at 12 locations, and HP has dedicated 80 full-time engineers to FitStation. The FitStation partners are still determining price.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso