Running coaches are there to make clients run the right way, avoid injuries and hit milestones. A good coach is in your ear telling you to push, or lengthen or shorten your stride. Most fitness trackers can’t do that, they’re limited by the tech — simple wrist bands can’t accurately track stride length or hip tilt. Contrary to the name, however, Stepp real-time running coach isn’t just a step counter. With its varied sensor placement, Stepp can track a greater range of motion than can most other wearables.
Now up on Kickstarter, Stepp is a three-piece device that attaches at the hip and to both shoes to record form data for the lower body. Using this info Stepp makes auditory suggestions to avoid pain and fatigue in the long run (pun intended), and to help improve performance. Stepp covers the obvious things like speed and cadence, but also makes real-time suggestions based on stride length, strike type, foot contact time and angle, swing speed, hip tilt, running balance, leg imbalances, knee and ankle impact force, and vertical movement.
Runners don’t even need to bring a cellphone if they don’t want detailed feedback. Stepp’s feedback can be configured to relay audio based on target areas. Fisher Shuoyu, co-founder of VST Technologies, the company behind Stepp, said, “You can totally turn on only strike length and pelvis tilt.”
Stepp’s app, where settings like audio relay are adjusted, could be a great tool for coaches. Since others can review the data in real time and respond, coaches can help clients remotely.
The sensors are waterproof and run for about six hours on a charge. You can fill them up in a charging dock that works with any USB plug. Stepp comes in different colors to ensure it doesn’t offend your fashion sense.
Stretch goals include adding smart watch support. Unfortunately, the campaign is only just over halfway to its $70,000 goal. If the goal is reached by October 8, however, VST Technology plans to deliver Stepp in July 2017. Backers can grab a Stepp sensor set for $120, saving 40 percent over the $199 retail price.