The Digitsole Smartshoe: Because, uh, your upper body is already covered in wearables? (hands-on)View gallery - 5 images
CES is full of products claiming to be the world's first something. Make the description specific enough and you can be the first anything: world's first 3D-printed, Bluetooth-connected, GPS-enabled smart peanut butter jar, anyone? Well, today at CES Unveiled we stumbled upon a company claming to have the world's first, ahem, smart shoe.
Digitsole has three different smartshoes lined up, one of which looks more like Marty McFly's kicks from Back to the Future Part II, and two more that are going to make more practical sense.
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First, the wacky one: the company describes the Smartshoe (below) as "trendy and urban footwear," only with a few tricks up its sleeve. It can warm your feet if they get cold and has sensors to measure your daily steps and calories burned. There's a light on the front, to help if you're walking or jogging at night, and the company says it can also measure your shock absorption – to give you a heads-up when it's time to change your soles or, you know, buy another US$450 pair of smartshoes.
There's also an opening and closing system in the shoe, which is a bit like a lower-tech, much slower-motion version of Marty McFly's self-lacing shoes. Controlled in an app on a paired smartphone, the tongue of the sneakers will close around your foot so you can fit it just right. Gimmicky? Probably. Mechanical-looking? You bet. But hey, welcome to CES.
The other two shoes (Warm Series, above) sound more practical to us. For starters, they look more like classic shoes, so the techno-nerd factor is much lower (there's a men's sneaker and a women's pump). The Warm Series keeps the tech simpler, but still hangs onto the two most logical functions of the Smartshoe: heating and step/calorie tracking. We can see many people in colder climates appreciating having heated shoes, and, if implemented well, step tracking that takes place in your shoes could potentially be more accurate than wrist-based trackers. Being on your foot, there should be less guesswork involved in determining what is and isn't a step.
While the more out-there Smartshoe has battery life of "up to several days" and charges wirelessly (it ships with two charging pads), the Warm Series uses a double microUSB cable and is only rated for six hours of continuous use.
If you're eager to get your hoofs on the "world's first smartshoe," Digitsole is targeting a Fall (Northern hemisphere) release for the Zemeckis-worthy Smartshoe, which will retail for $450. The company is aiming to release the Harrison Warm Sneaker and Scarlett Warm Pumps before next Winter. No pricing is set for those, but the company tells us they'll be cheaper.
Product page: DigitsoleView gallery - 5 images