Packed with sensors and accelerometers, the Lunar TR1+ running shoes have got more brains than our, well, brains. But is that enough to justify their price tag?
Meet the trainers that turn you into a cyborg – powered by apps rather than feeble human will-power – this is biofeedback for the next generation of sport. An array of pressure and motion sensors in the Nike Lunar TR1+ soles mean your every movement is measured. Combine that with workout apps and you’re left with a robotic personal trainer that knows – and pushes – your workout efforts more accurately than any real-world trainer could hope to compete with.
Nike has previously pumped its trainers’ soles with rubber, pedometers, and even air – and now it’s added pressure sensors. The Nike Lunar TR1+ trainers sport several pressure sensors – at the heel, ball and toe – to measure the spread of your weight, and 3-axis accelerometers to judge movement. The removable Bluetooth accelerometers last 40 hours on a charge. All that hardware means the trainers can be used, potentially, to offer feedback from a plethora of future workout apps.
No app no gain
The main app to launch with the Nike Lunar TR1+s, called the Nike+ Training app, offers workouts – which you can do in your lounge – from some of the world’s top athletes, including Rafa Nadal, Manny Pacquiao, and LeBron James. But as it’s on your phone or tablet (iOS only) you can always fire it up half way through a run in the middle of a field, making anywhere a free gym.
And thanks to the sensors you can still use the trainers with the Nike+ Running app to measure your jogging efforts, too. Both apps allow you to upload your Nike+ scores and times to the Nike+ website for rankings that let you compete with the world – a great motivator when you feel like coasting mid-exercise.
While the Nike+ Training app uses the workouts of famous athletes, after their brief intro your led by a non-famous, albeit athletic gym buddy, just like in a real class. The Drill Packs come in Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced for daily programs or weekly workouts.
The trainers sense your weight distribution and you’re told to “keep it up” or “go faster” as a means of keeping your technique correct. If you’re doing a squat and not sitting into it correctly, for example, you’ll be told to sit into your heels to get it correct. This accuracy, which was unfaltering during our tests, really should put the fear into pricey personal trainers the world over.
The Live Mode offers a free-roaming option for recording steps, jumps and foot speed when doing your own drills.
Build and comfort
The trainers themselves are a hybrid between an ankle supporting gym shoe and a light soled jogging trainer. They are, despite the sensors, as comfortable as any pair of runners – like you’d expect from Nike. Although if you’re going off road the grip isn’t ideal, as these are primarily aimed at indoor training.
But those higher edges offer enough support for lunging about while the soles absorb any misjudged extra shock. There will also be a women’s version called Nike Lunar HyperWorkout+ as well as a basketball specific shoe called Nike Hyperdunk+.
This is a new category of sports gadget that cleverly offers a replacement for personal trainers and trips to the gym. It’ll be revolutionary for getting shy beginners off the couch while also helping gym addicts find more time – working out wherever they needs to. The added potential of other apps being developed for this sensor-laden hardware make the Nike Lunar TR1+s as significant to the fitness world as the iPhone was the to the apps universe.