Fitness tech is not exactly new. Crazy innovations seem to be dreamed up daily, whether it's a new high-tech shirt that tracks your heart rate, steps taken, exercise intensity, and more—or a basketball that keeps tabs on your makes, misses, and shot range while you play. The latest trend, though, is all about them kicks. Running shoe manufacturers are packing their sneakers with everything from Bluetooth sensors that can provide feedback on your stride, to temperature-regulating properties, to cushioning that won't ease up no matter how far you plan to run. Here are nine pairs we can't wait to get our hands on.
ASICS limited-edition, long-distance running shoe, MetaRun, boasts five brand-spanking-new technologies. It's been in production for three years, but the finished product was worth it: With FlyteFoam, ASICS' lightest, most-durable, cushy midsole, AdaptTruss, a carbon-reinforced adaptive stability system, a glove-like one-layer upper with built-in memory foam, and hybrid high-tech gel, what more could a runner ask for in a pair of kicks? Well, ASICS says the shoe will adapt to the individual runner's needs, so there's also that.
$250, asics.com (available in select retailers November 27th and online November 28th)
The Ultra Boost was ahead of its time when it launched early last year promising to provide "unmatched energy return"—and delivering! So, when we heard the already high-tech kicks were getting an update, we were intrigued. The new version will have a "Stretchweb" outsole that helps your foot strike the ground more naturally and adapts to all surfaces (whether it's wet or dry). The tech was inspired by tires and helps to provide better traction than your standard sneaks. Plus, the new gradient multicolor "Primeknit" upper not only looks cool, but also helps the shoe adapt to your unique foot.
If you're a fan of Nike Free, you're probably rocking it during sprints and interval runs. But, when it comes to tempo runs or long distances, you may be forced to turn to a different shoe. That's why Nike fused together their Free and Lunar technologies, so you can have everything you love about Free—built on an outsole fine-tuned for running further (and further, and further...)
$120, nike.com (available online now and retail in December)
Altra broke the mold when it debuted running shoes with that are actually shaped like—get this—the human foot. Popular amongst ultramarathoners, the brand is quickly gaining traction from mainstream runners too. And now, here's a new reason to test 'em out yourself: This March, the brand will debut a "Smart Shoe" that is actually able to gather data about your stride (such as whether you're striking on your heel or ball of your foot, your cadence, and left foot-vs-right foot favoring) as you run and provide feedback on your personal biomechanics. Here's how: There's a razor-thin sensor embedded in the midsole that transmits the info to your iFit app or watch via Bluetooth tech.
3D printers are all the rage these days. And now, you can get a pair of 3D-printed running shoes. While other brands have dipped their toes in to the 3D waters, New Balance announced that they'll be launching their first high performance running shoe with a 3D printed midsole in Boston in April 2016. "Most '3D-printed shoes' made to date are rigid and heavy—and not appropriate for running. The midsole that New Balance is producing represents a real breakthrough in balancing flexibility, strength, weight and durability, not just within the 3D printing of footwear, but 3D printing overall," the company says in a press release.
Another super-innovative brand, APL made headlines years ago when their basketball shoes were banned by the NBA. Now, their TechLoom Pro shoes are revolutionizing the running world with the first metallic knit running shoe in the world.
The Vanquish 2 utilizes 3D printing like the New Balance shoe, but for its upper rather than the midsole. The seamless upper boasts an "asymmetrical external web" designed to give more support and breathability. The rest of the shoe? Just as pillowy and cushy as the kicks the brand is known for.
You have your running jacket and leggings that help keep your body warm in the cold and cool as you heat up. But now your shoes can do the same thing thanks to "PWRWARM," a new thermo–regulated technology by Puma that helps to keep your feet at an optimal temperature to help preserve energy (so you can use it on the run, rather than to warm up your body.)
The game-changing tech here is all about the cushioning. New "EVERUN" foam is positioned closer to the foot, directly under the sockliner, instead of in the midsole below a layer or rigid cement, as is sometimes done. This helps to more evently distribute propulsion force and reduce pressure while amping the responsiveness of the shoe. What's more: the new foam doesn't heat up and get softer as your run, like typical EVA foam (the foam you find in most shoes on the market), say the developers. This helps to maintain cushioning properties three times longer than standard EVAs while returning 83% of the energy absorbed, according to research in the Saucony Human Performance and Innovation Lab.