Skip to main content

Adidas Embraces Augmented Reality with Shoes, Marketing

Image used with permission by copyright holder

First there were Rebook Pumps. Then LA Lights, Heelys, Z-Coils and Shapeups. Now you can add more bullet point to the long list of shoe gimmicks: augmented reality.

Adidas’ Originals Augmented Reality shoes deliver on the premise of augmented reality – virtual objects superimposed onto real life – with a simple marker sewn into the tongue. After picking up one of the five Originals varieties available in an AR flavor – Superstar, Stan Smith, Forum, Nizza and Samba – owners can log onto the Adidas Neighborhood to play games online with their shoes.

Yes, play games online with their shoes. Adidas’ tutorial does its best to make it seem less ridiculous, but we’re literally talking about holding a shoe in front of a laptop and zapping on-screen enemies with it. The square AR marker in the tongue allows Adidas’ Flash-based app to superimpose a virtual world on top of the shoe that moves in real time as you move the shoe. Right now, you can play a Star-Wars-type game, but Adidas plans to unveil two additional titles by the end of the summer.

Adidas has also embraced augmented reality in its marketing. To drive folks into its retail stores, a new campaign in Asia has folks who spot its ad in newspapers take a picture of an AR marker with their phones, then head in to a brick-and-mortar shop. By holding their phones in front of a virtual mirror – which is really a camera, computer and display – they can “try on” a series of virtual t-shirts without so much as reaching for a rack.

After seeing how janky the “virtual t-shirts” look in implementation, we’re still filing both AR uses under novelties, but it’s not hard to see the real uses that could be buried underneath at the technology improves. Imagine trying on a “test shirt” patterned in a special augmented reality design at home, then being able to superimpose the look of hundreds of different t-shirts over it with photorealistic results. It’s not hard to see how online retailers would be quick to turn any bedroom with a webcam into a private home changing room where you can try on their wares instantly. As for zapping storm troopers with a soccer shoe… even our imaginations have a tough time pondering how that one morphs into something practical.

You can pick up AR-enabled Originals shoes at Champs Sports and, where the different models retail for between $65 and $95. The Adidas Neighborhood also makes it possible to print a demo marker and play a demo game online before springing for the real kicks.

Editors' Recommendations

Nick Mokey
As Digital Trends’ Managing Editor, Nick Mokey oversees an editorial team delivering definitive reviews, enlightening…
Insoles claim to fight Parkinson’s symptoms by stimulating nerves in your feet
naboso insoles parkinsons stimulating feet insole pic marketing

From shoes with in-built laser-pointing tech to ones that incorporate robotic components, there are no shortage of high-tech attempts to rethink footwear to help battle the effects of Parkinson’s disease. A startup  called Naboso Technology has come up with an approach that’s less hardware intensive. According to its podiatrist creator, it works by hacking the human body by stimulating the nervous system via the bottom of the foot. Doing this can reportedly help improve balance and stability for people with Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis. and assorted other neurological disorders. And all it reportedly requires is a textured insole.

“The Naboso Technology insoles and mats uniquely stimulate the skin on the bottom of the feet to improve balance, posture and function,” Dr. Emily Splichal, founder of Naboso, told Digital Trends. “The skin on the bottom of the feet is sensitive to what's called two-point discrimination, which is perceived as texture. Our insoles and mats have a two-point discrimination texture with a very specific height, shape and distance between each stimulus. Much like how our finger reads braille, our feet recognize that same pattern, which has an effect on connecting to your foundation, consciously feeling your feet again, and feeling more stable.”

Read more
Meet the game-changing pitching robot that can perfectly mimic any human throw
baseball hitter swings and misses

Who’s your favorite baseball pitcher? Shane McClanahan? Sandy Alcantara? Justin Verlander? Whoever you said, two of the top sports-tech companies in the U.S. -- Rapsodo and Trajekt Sports -- have teamed up to build a robot version of them, and the results are reportedly uncannily accurate.

Okay, so we’re not talking about walking-talking-pitching standalone robots, as great a sci-fi-tinged MLB ad as that would be. However, Rapsodo and Trajekt have combined their considerable powers to throw a slew of different technologies at the problem of building a machine that's able to accurately simulate the pitching style of whichever player you want to practice batting against -- and they may just have pulled it off, too.

Read more
The best portable power stations
EcoFlow DELTA 2 on table at campsite for quick charging.

Affordable and efficient portable power is a necessity these days, keeping our electronic devices operational while on the go. But there are literally dozens of options to choose from, making it abundantly difficult to decide which mobile charging solution is best for you. We've sorted through countless portable power options and came up with six of the best portable power stations to keep your smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other gadgets functioning while living off the grid.
The best overall: Jackery Explorer 1000

Jackery has been a mainstay in the portable power market for several years, and today, the company continues to set the standard. With three AC outlets, two USB-A, and two USB-C plugs, you'll have plenty of options for keeping your gadgets charged.

Read more