CES 2017: Digitsole Connected Shoes
The seminal sci-fi comedy Back to the Future II was responsible for two of the greatest fantasies of the late 20th Century: the Cubs winning the World Series, and shoes that lace themselves. We were lucky enough to see that first wish finally come to fruition this fall, and after our visit with Digitsole, it looks like the second one has arrived as well. Digitsole has been making waves at CES for the past few years, first getting rave reviews on their Warm Series of heated insoles back in 2015. This year, Digitsole displayed a full complement of connected shoes.
The collection runs the gamut of styles and functions. Slip on a pair of running shoes that can adjust their level of cushioning, count your steps, and analyze your gait to determine if you’re a pronator or a supinator. Or, our local customers might prefer the Warmin’ Sneakers to help get through Chicago winters. These kicks integrate heating elements into the insole, letting wearers warm their feet to up to 113° F. The Warmin’ Sneakers offer full wireless control of heating options via Bluetooth, and also include activity tracking options.
But the real attention-grabber was the Digitsole Smartshoe 001, which are billed as “The first connected, interactive, heated, and shock absorber shoes with automatic tightening.” If ever there was a of shoe from the future, it’s the Digitsole Smartshoe 001, and it certainly looks the part. Inside the swoopy shoes are a suite of sensors and smart technologies that give the feature-packed footwear all of its functions. You’ll find the heated insoles here, as well as step counting and overall activity tracking. The shock absorption properties of the sole are monitored and will let the wearer know when the shoe no longer functions optimally in that regard. And then of course there’s the feature that’s drawn comparisons to Marty McFly’s kicks, the auto-tightening mechanism. Instead of laces, the Smartshoe 001 uses a pair of pistons to raise and lower the semi-rigid tongue, firmly locking your ankle into the high-top shoes. The Smartshoe 001 sports wireless charging, and all of its functions are controlled via Bluetooth and the dedicated app, or even by voice commands.
Digitsole shoes have packed a whole lot of gadgetry into a product that has, since its invention, never been much more than a few pieces of cushioned leather stitched together. Only time will tell if there’s a demand for self-tightening, cushion-monitoring, interactive shoes. However, it’s currently 19° F outside, and a pair of heated insoles would absolutely be a welcome treat on the walk back to the car. We’re excited to see how Digitsole shoes evolve in the coming years.