These smart socks will fix your heel-striking woes. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
LAS VEGAS — Tons of wearables at International CES promise to help you get better at everything from brushing your teeth to perfecting your golf swing, but the last place we expected someone to toss a sensor was into our socks.
Sensoria’s Fitness Socks are aimed at transforming you into a better, injury-free runner by embedding three sensor pads into the bottom of the sock that track your stride, cadence and speed while you’re running. Coupled with the Sensoria mobile app, runners can now get direct feedback on their running style to correct things like heel striking to help them dominate their next 10k.
Pear Sports’ workout system pairs a heart rate monitor with comfortable earbuds and a mobile app. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
I’ve been a runner for a long time. I trained for (and ran) the 1994 Los Angeles Marathon. I’ve run 5K races, half marathons and relays for full marathons up here in Alaska, too. I find that running gives me the best bang for my buck: All I need is a pair of running shoes, some appropriate clothing (it gets cold up here), and some music to keep me getting out there.
Recently, though, I’ve been playing with a new bit of gear: the Pear Sports heart rate monitor, paired with a set of earbuds engineered to stay in your ears while working out, plus a pretty fantastic mobile app to make sense of the heart rate data.
Wahoo’s first heart-rate sensor was of the pedestrian ANT+ variety, and connected to the iPhone through a 30-pin ANT+ dongle. Around a year later, the Atlanta-based outfit introduced the first heart-rate sensor that connected to a smartphone through Bluetooth; specifically and only to the iPhone 4s, since that was the only phone at the time with Bluetooth 4.0 under the hood.
Wahoo upped the ante again in January at CES, when they revealed a radical departure from traditional heart-rate based fitness tracking: Their new highly sophisticated, three-model TICKR sensor squad, combined with an all-new app that turns conventional fitness-tracking on its head. Now the first of the TICKR trio, the TICKR Run, is hitting the street.
The little dots on the sensor’s face are lights that tell you whether the sensor is connected, or if the battery is low. Photo: Eli Milchman
LAS VEGAS — Rather than come out with a more casual-oriented wearable fitness tracker like everyone (and we mean everyone) else, Wahoo stuck to its athletic roots and took the more serious route of improving the heart-rate monitor strap and accompanying training software the company introduced a few years ago.
In fact, Wahoo has created three new versions of its Bluetooth HR strap. The company even tried to restructure the way athletes think about training with the new “burn or burst” approach for the Wahoo iOS app.
New Years resolutions are just around the corner and if running if your go-to method for shedding the holiday pounds, Nike+ just added a coaching feature to its running app that promises to whip you into shape.
The free app allows users to create running goals like taking on your first 5k, 10k, half-marathon, or marathon, and then lays out a running regiment for you up until the big day of the race. Nike+ Coach trains users by mixing in various distances and running paces throughout you jog and can setup running reminds for you to help get you off the couch.
If Cult of Mac ever created an award for “Most Prolific i-Gadget Maker,” there’s little doubt it would eventually end up in a cabinet at iHome’s headquarters (or possibly more accurately in a cabinet at their parent company, SDI technologies, which also owns New Balance and Timex).
This is something we don’t see often enough: outside-the-box thinking applied to sports armbands for the iPhone. Digifit—an outfit we’ve covered before that makes fitness tracking devices and software—took the tired old bicep-hugging armband and slid it all the way down to the forearm; presto, no more yoga poses just to see your lap times.
Summer isn’t over quite yet, so if you’re still looking for a little motivation to get you back in tip-top shape Nike added a new Challenges feature to its running app.
To start a challenge in Nike+ Running 4.3, simply set a distance and send the invite to your Nike+ friends. The app will keep track of who’s in the lead and if you win you get a shiny digital medal to show off to your momma.
The free app is available in the App Store now for both iPhone and iPod touch.
I have a complicated relationship with gloves. On the one hand, I love that they keep my fingers from falling off in frigid weather. But then there’s the frustration at their complete lack of cooperation when I’m trying to use the touchscreen on my phone. As a result, I end up either constantly removing and re-donning my gloves in an endless cycle that freezes my delicate fingers anyway — or abandoning my phone altogether in disgust.
The problem is that most touchscreens rely on our fingers to act as conductors, and conventional gloves block that conductivity. But glove-makers have rolled with the times, and there are solutions — gloves that allow conductivity to pass through the glove’s fabric and onto the screen. One of the most buzzed about is Outdoor Research’s Sensor Gloves ($69), which use real leather that doesn’t appear or feel any different than leather used in non-conductive gloves.