A casual jogger with a gait problem, I lunged at the chance to try out the Smart Balance training shoes from Samsung Creative Labs-spinoff Iofit (that's an "i", not an "L").
As soon as I cinched their laces at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, Spain, I knew that Smart Balance aren't the smart shoes for me -- and that isn't just because the smallest size at the booth is still a couple sizes too big. It's because golf and weight training just aren't my sports.
Created by enthusiasts of golf and crossfit, the Iofit shoes focus on these disciplines, using pressure sensors paired with an app to show you information about your stance and golf swing.
The corresponding app leans heavily on video shot by a trainer or a friend so you can analyze your own form -- there's purposely no virtual coaching.
The app's data graphs and summary look smooth, but the usefulness of the shoe/app combo really does focus on golf and some weight training.
Designed in partnership with South Korean shoemaker TNS, the styles look sporty. There aren't internal arches; I wouldn't run in them and they aren't meant for everyday use. They also don't track your steps or provide any audio feedback through a device.
For someone who doesn't do either, the shoes are a bogey, not a birdie. But I'll still want to know all about them when the finished product starts selling, as soon as July through a soon-to-be launched Kickstarter campaign.
The IOFIT golf shoes will be priced at $259, which will be discounted down to $199 from Feb 22 to March 10. The fitness shoe comes in a little cheaper at $199 with a similar discount during the same period letting you have them for $149.
Things to know:
- Golf shoe style: $260 retail; $200 preorder (converts to £177/£141 and AU$345/AU$276)
- Expected lifetime: 15 million steps (Approximately 7,500 miles at an average stride)
- Bluetooth pairing to device
- Wireless charging pad
- Battery life expected to last 5 to 7 days (2 to 3 hours of use)