The Fascinating Future of Footwear

Do you remember the awesome self-lacing sneakers in the Back to the Future 2 movie? Marty McFly had travelled to the future and was impressed by the light-up, automatic footwear. What was once sci-fi has become a reality with a new wave of ‘adaptive performance’ footwear being designed by the biggest names in the shoe industry like Nike. Here we look at how technology is not only transforming how we live but what we wear:

Powerlace

We’d all like a pair of Marty McFly shoes, right? Sadly, we’re not quite ready for those yet but there is a company who claims to have solved the shoe lace issue for us. The Powerlace system features a pressure plate in the heel of the shoe so that when you step down on it initially, the shoe locks the laces in place at a pre-set tightness. To unlock the laces, simply pull on the lever at the rear of the shoe. If this idea catches on, we need never tie another shoe lace again! For a more traditional pair of shoes, head to a Shoe Shop in Gloucester like cottersshoes.co.uk

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Lechal Haptic Footwear

A strange name for a rather clever pair of shoes. How would you feel if your shoes could help you with directions? A researcher at Hewlett-Packard in India designed these smart shoes that feature a customised insole that can link up via Bluetooth with an app on your smartphone. Set a destination on your app and when you hit a required change of direction, vibrations in the shoes tell you which way to go. Perfect for those of us prone to staring at a phone whilst walking and invariably walking into something or tripping over!

Garneau Carbon

Imagine a shoe that at the first sign of sweaty whiffs was able to instantly cool your foot, successfully pausing the sweat reaction and refreshing your foot in the process? Sportsmen and women would benefit most from this form of footwear and that’s why they were first worn by Team Europcar in the 2012 Tour de France. The smart insole is woven with xylitol which reacts with sweat and rapidly cools.

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Instep Nanopower

Imagine being able to generate your own power, enough to charge your smartphone. Imagine not having to worry about connecting to Wi-Fi because you had your own hotspot in your shoes. That is what researchers in the U.S have developed – a shoe with small drops of liquid moving through a substrate to generate little bits of electricity. This charge would also power a Wi-Fi hotspot embedded in the shoe.

Protocell

This idea is still at the concept phase but it’s great to see what could be the future of footwear as opposed to what has already been designed. Shamees Aden have created a design of a shoe that can be 3D printed from biological material. In theory, this means the shoes could repair themselves when damaged and regenerate – a bit like Doctor Who! The shoe will mould to the exact shape of your foot and the cells will inflate or deflate depending on variances in temperature and pressure.