Blog: Leonie BarrieShoes made for walking – and more

Leonie Barrie | 24 June 2009

When did shoes stop being just...shoes? Nowadays it seems that looking good and protecting your feet from the elements are the least of their requirements; instead, a new generation of ‘super shoes’ packs benefits that range from correcting the wearer’s posture to getting rid of cellulite, and some claim to relieve the symptoms of diabetes and arthritis too.

Even Reebok has stepped into the field with a toning shoe to “re-shape the butts and legs of women around the world.” Its selling point is a new balance pod system invented by a former NASA engineer that tones key muscles by making them work harder.

But there are some multi-tasking shoe ideas that might be slower to get off the ground. How about metal detecting sandals for one?

No they’re not a joke; inventor Hammacher Schlemmer describes them as “a way for beach combers to treasure hunt without carrying a handheld metal detector and wearing a bulky headphone.” And if that’s not enough, the sandals “allow you to unobtrusively locate buried artefacts as you stroll the beach.”

A copper coil built into the right sandal – and powered by a battery pack that straps to your calf by an elastic band – creates a magnetic field and alerts you to the presence of metal up to 2' underfoot. Unobtrusive maybe, but I don’t think the flashing red LED lights and “gentle vibration or clearly audible buzz” would allow you to stay inconspicuous for long.

Another alternative, perhaps, is the “social networking shoe.” These Global Positioning System (GPS) sneakers come with Bluetooth capability and enable the wearer to be tracked by friends and family through their cell phones.

“People will be able to see where their friends are – and have a better idea of estimated arrival time – without having to call them. And, because the wearer doesn’t have to be talking on the phone while driving, it will definitely improve safety.”

Hmmm. I can certainly see the point of shoes that help keep tabs on kids or the elderly, but I’m not sure I’d want my every move tracked like that.

 


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