I’ve changed running styles a bunch of times over the years, shifting from mindless heelstriking to a quasi-shuffle of my own invention to try to lower the impact of running on concrete, to (finally) proper forefooting after getting gait analysis done at a running gear shop. I can’t praise forefooting enough. It is harder work for the ankles, and initially tougher on the calves, too, but once you get the technique down it’s infinitely superior to pounding pavement with your heels. And much faster than a too-conservative shuffle.
Locking a new running technique can be tough though, so enter the Sensoria Smart Sock Fitness Tracker, which wants to track your steps and advise on running style, by doing real-time gait analysis thanks to its sensor-stuffed socks.
Sensoria’s wearable device consists of a pair of socks, containing its “e-textile technology” (which basically boils down to pressure sensors, so it can figure out which bits of your foot are taking the weight as you run), plus a clip-on Bluetooth 4.0 device that also contains an accelerometer and altimeter, and attaches to the ankle of the sock via magnets (it’s detachable so the sock can be washed). This wirelessly connects to your computer or smartphone to upload your running data.
As well as tracking basics like steps and speed, the device is designed specifically for runners so it also tracks a range of more specialist metrics including which part of your foot you’re landing on so you can perfect your foot-strike technique; your overall cadence metronome by measuring stride frequency to help you stay in an optimal running rhythm; and it also has a stride analyser to monitor average stride length to ensure good form, much as a running coach might.
The system can also track inactivity. Because it is a step tracker it knows when your foot has been stationary for a while so it can figure out you’re sitting down and send you an alert to take a screen break. Which sounds like a very handy feature for the average blogger.
Sensoria’s system supports both real-time coaching if you use its app while out running — which can give prompts and warnings for things like heelstriking or retrospective analysis of your performance via its software dashboard. The app will be available for iOS 6 and above and Android 4.3 and above — this limited reach is down to the need for the platform to have Bluetooth 4.0 support.
Sensoria’s creators are currently seeking crowdsourced funding via Indiegogo to get their idea to market and are very close to their target of $87,000, with 16 days left to run on the campaign. Currently all the lowest-priced pledges that include the full device ($99) have been bagged but there are still multiple pledges at the $119 price point. For that you get the fitness tracker and one pair of socks. Three pairs of extra socks are also available for $59.