The year 1986 gave us the music of Mr. Mister, the launch of the Mir space station, leg warmers and Puma's RS-Computer smart shoes. Puma's retro running kicks are now getting a modern reissue, but with some upgrades.
The original shoes sported a computer chip in the heel that acted much like a Fitbit does today. They recorded time, distance and calories burned. Runners could hook the shoes up to an Apple IIe or Commodore 64 computer using a 16-pin cord to access and track the workout data. That's why the shoes have such a chunky, protruding heel.
"The 2018 iteration has new technology but replicates the original experience," Puma says. You won't get to feel the joy of using a 16-pin cord with your Apple IIe, but you will be able charge the shoe with a USB cable.
Today's RS-Computer uses Bluetooth to communicate with an app for iOS and Android. To make you feel more like you're time-traveling, the app uses 8-bit-style graphics and includes an 8-bit game.
Puma is keeping the look of the original shoes, right down to the protruding heel and the colors, which it says are called lunar rock, limestone and peacoat. The new sneakers come with an accelerometer to track your runs.
The new RS-Computers may be just as hard to get as Back to the Future Part II. Puma is only making 86 pairs, which will be sold online and at select Puma stores starting Thursday. Pricing has not yet been announced.from
In the '80s, Puma's shoes were a curiosity. "No-one had ever created a shoe with a body-mounted sensor to capture and store data," says Puma. "In fact, it would take 20+ years before anyone else achieved that in a shoe."
One thing is certain: The reissued RS-Computer shoes will look great with leg warmers.
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