When we saw someone holding a sock with an iPhone at CES 2015, we flashed that glint of doubt in our eyes. Surely, this isn’t a smart sock?
Apparently, yes. Laughter started ringing in our heads, thinking this is really taking the cake, even for wearable tech. That inner laughter was quelled when we opened our minds, went forth and asked about the Sensoria Fitness Socks.
And it was good. At first glance, we noticed that the socks looked like a pair of normal footwear, with an anklet magnetically attached to one half of the pair. Beneath both socks, we were shown three sensors - two measuring the impact on the ball of your feet, and one right underneath the heel. The socks are designed like an electronic board, except instead of wires, they’re fabricated with conductive fibers to transfer the signals from the sensors to the anklet.
While we did not actually wear these socks (and probably shouldn’t, considering how many pairs of feet would have touched it had Sensoria allowed it), we felt up the sensors. Actually, we’ll take that back, because it was as if there’s nothing that’ll give away the fact that the sensors exist.
The pressure sensitive sensors measure the impact at the point your feet lands; data is fed in real-time from the sensors, through the anklet and to the app via Bluetooth. This is where the magic begins. Should it focus mainly on the balls of your feet, the socks will send an audio feedback whenever you’re putting too much pressure on the said parts. Or heels depending on which portion you’ve told the app to monitor closely.
The virtual coach app doesn’t exactly analyse and recommend a training plan based on the collected data, which includes percentage of foot landing and cadence. But it does tell you how you’ve been running, giving you a clearer insight to your running style and warning you if you’re running outside of your preset parameters.
The anklet also contains an accelerometer, measuring across the three axes to provide additional tracking data. The usual tracking parameters, such as calories burnt and pace, are also included within the app.
Sensoria estimates that the anklet’s battery can last up to seven days. You probably won’t run seven hours in a day, so it’s good that the anklet is detachable and can be secured to another pair of socks via magnets. Which, by the way, really locks in the anklet and makes it pretty hard to be separated, so you won’t lose it when you’re doing an exceptionally intensive run.
Sensoria stated that the initial bundle, which costs US$199, includes the anklet and two pairs of socks, the latter being washable. But you don’t do laundry every day just to have a new pair of smart socks ready, do you? Hence, there’s an option to purchase additional socks in packs of three, which costs US$50, available in either black or white.