A pair of smart shoes that were originally conceived in Samsung’s secret innovation lab, before taking on a life of their own in a spin-off company, has launched on Kickstarter, ready to help wearers improve their golf game. One of golf’s challenges is learning how to shift your weight from one foot to the other at the right time. Master it, and your swing improves considerably. The trick is, understanding where you’re going wrong, and how it feels when you get it right. The technology inside Iofit’s smart shoes is designed to help.
Sensors embedded in the outsole measure four key aspects: Left/right balance, front/back balance, pressure distribution, and any shift in weight. Clever algorithms pull the data together to help illustrate where your weakness lies, so you get instant feedback and the information needed to make a change. The shoes can detect tiny changes in pressure, and respond to them in milliseconds.
The app is designed to be used by the individual player trying to improve, and also as a tool for golf coach. It has the option to record your swing, then plots the data collected from the shoes against the video, and compares the result to other players. It can be set up to monitor multiple shots, so there’s no need to keep stopping, making it easier to track consistency. Because swing and balance data can be shared with others, you can receive coaching remotely, complete with annotated video and a voice-over.
Designed with the help of a product designer from golf brand Ping, the Iofit shoes come in two different styles, Sport and Classic, and in multiple colors. Both have the same technical capability, and run on a coin cell battery, so there’s no need to charge them up. However, the battery will need replacing after five days of use, if you average about two hours play time each day. The app is compatible with Android and iOS, and the shoes come in sizes for both men and women.
The Iofit golf shoes have huge potential, unlocking data that most players will never have the chance to visualise, making it easier to understand. While we’ve seen wristbands, and sensors that attach to belts and clubs before, the data won’t matter if your balance, weight shift, and posture is all wrong. Putting on these shoes may fix a problem that before was difficult to isolate.
The Kickstarter campaign starts on August 2 and has a goal of $30,000. To secure a pair of Iofit shoes you’ll need to pledge $190 now, but this figure rises to $200 and $210 if you miss out on the early bird offers. There are also options to buy more than one pair. Provided the campaign gets funded, the shoes are likely to be on your feet in February 2017.