Enter the maze

On the back (page) foot

by Peter W McOwan, Queen Mary University of London

walking boots covered in moss : Image from pixabay.com REF 2858296

Shoes are a staple of the fashion industry. The right pair can make you look more business-like, and a well-fitting pair can make your day so much more comfy. But what happens when footwear collides with software? The answer is innovative strides forward for shoe-tech. So best foot forward as we walk through fascinating facts about shoes.

Follow that shoe

Cars can navigate to their destination using the power of the GPS satellite network, so why not your shoes? Using an app to pre-program your journey the shoes monitor your position and, when you come to a point where you need to make a turn, the correct shoe vibrates.

By following the shudders in your shoes, your trainers keep you on track.

Tilt Shoe Stars

And the award for the most interesting shoes in a music video goes to... the late king of pop, Michael Jackson's tilt shoes. In the video for Smooth Criminal Michael manages to pull off some gravity defying body tilts. The answer to his amazing ability to tilt his body over at 45 degrees came from strong ankles and trick shoes. The shoes contain a slot in the heel. There was also a peg in the stage which popped up just as he was about to perform the tilt. By securely sliding the slot on the heels onto the peg (and making sure the laces were well tied), he was able to make the unnatural lean over.

So, Ankle are you OK? Are you OK, Ankle?

Charged by (not for) Shoes

Ever been stuck when the battery on your phone ran out? New footwear is being developed to prevent this all too common problem. It uses the energy you put into walking to charge the phone. The shoes have inbuilt transducers, clever tech that's able to create electricity from the difference in pressure between your foot being down and being up. This small movement of your foot over long enough periods stores enough electrical energy in the shoe to recharge the phone.

Walk while you talk.

Ourselves and the shoemaker

Silhouette woman's shoe : Image from pixabay.com REF 701606

Ouch! New shoes are badly fitting shoes and that can be a real pain. Perhaps in the future we will be spared this foot flexing fumbling by wearing perfect fit custom 3D-printed shoes. Part of the problem is that everyone's feet are different shapes, and even your left and right feet are slightly different. The system scans your feet, then, using this precise set of measurements, the shoes can be custom-made.

A robot shoemaker will whip up a perfect pair for your delicate tootsies.

Cool Running

Running has become a popular way to keep fit, but if you want to get better at it you really need to work with a running coach. Researchers are looking at building the coach into the shoes. By putting sensors in the shoes they can calculate your running speed, pressures in you footfall, and lots of other useful data that can help you improve. The information is sent from the shoes to your phone so you (or a human running coach) can review it and identify how you can run more efficiently. That way you can clean up any bad habits in your running style. There are even shoes being developed that measure the heat in your feet and can change the trainer's temperature.

With smart wearable tech you can run cool and clean.

This article funded by ...

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