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Footwear Of The Future, Today

I saw a cool news item today that got me really excited, and inspired this article, which I’ll get to in a moment.

But first, have you seen Back To The Future II? I hope so. If not, where have you been?

Whether you have seen it or not, in the beginning of the movie they go to the year 2015 (not so far in the future now!). We get to see a ton of cool futuristic “stuff” like huge 3D movie posters, dog leases that walk your dog for you, ovens that transform a tiny pizza into full size cooked pizza in seconds, and of course flying cars.

But the two stand outs are the hoverboards and the “power lace” or self lacing Nike sneakers. To get an idea of what I’m talking about, check out this clip:

It’s an old movie, so why the excitement? Well the news item was about one of the former becoming a reality. No, not the hoverboards, unfortunately. But Nike have patented the self lacing technology and plan to develop them! No date has been set for when they will be available. Maybe by 2015?

Now you’re probably thinking “wow, self lacing, big deal”, but apart form the fact that they are clearly awesome, I was reading a few comments that followed the news item, and they could actually have a number of very practical uses.

Some of the comments that caught my attention where about their use for people with disabilities and elderly people. Someone also mentioned that they work with children with learning difficulties, who have difficulties with basic skills such as tying their laces, and would find them really helpful.

This Got Me Thinking

What kind of footwear technology is available today? Are we aware of the advances in exercise footwear? And more importantly are people taking these current advancements into consideration when choosing the correct footwear for physical activity? So I decided to give my opinion on what I think are the best options available on the market, in the year 2010.

The Importance Of Correct Footwear

When it comes to exercising, correct footwear is often the last thing to be considered. But if you want to protect yourself from unnecessary injury and be able to stay active in the long run, investing in a good quality pair of trainers is a must. I often see people exercising in footwear that doesn’t offer any cushioning, support or durability, all of which are essential for safety and performance. Exercising in unsuitable footwear can lead to ankle, knee, hip and back problems.

Converse are fashionable, and look cool, but offer no support, cushioning or durability. Not a good choice for exercise. Adding gel insoles could be a helpful..

Cross Trainers

If you want the most bang for your buck, cross trainers are definitely the way to go. They are extremely versatile and can be used for just about any sport or activity. A true all rounder they offer the correct cushioning, support and comfort for the wearer, allowing you to go from one activity to another without the need for multiple specific types of footwear.

This is great for me as a personal trainer and fitness instructor as I can find myself switching between several types of activity during any given day. And they are available in a very wide variety of styles and prices. In fact you can pick up a decent pair for about €50 in most sports stores. Just ask anybody working in one of them and they should be able to point you in the direction of a suitable pair.

I like the Nike Shox range, which look totally futuristic with the springs on the heel that look like little jet rockets. But they can be a little pricey and not everybody likes them. Asics offer good quality and affordable cross trainers, which do just as  good of a job as the more expensive ones.

These are just two examples of cross trainers but there are tons of different brands and price ranges available, don’t be afraid to try multiple pairs until you find a pair you are happy with.

I like Nike Shox because the "springs" in the heel are great for bouncing or jumping movements. But they are not essential, any cross trainer will do.

Extra Support And Special Conditions

Another point that is often overlooked is how you stand, or more accurately, how you walk. One of the most obvious examples of this can be seen by taking a look at your footwear. Are the soles completely even? Or have the soles worn away more on the inside or the outside? Few people have a totally even or efficient biomechanical footfall, and the degree to which the irregularity is expressed varies greatly form one person to the next.

Now, depending on the severity of the distortion you may want to see a specialist, but in my own case where I have a slight tendency to over pronate my feet while walking I simple bought a pair of seamless gel insoles. Which they claim, promote proper foot mechanics, providing extra support that relieves pressure and helps to naturally center your arch and balance out minor imbalances.

In Store Computer Program That Helps Tell If You Need Correcting Footwear

If you want to get fancy, there are running stores that use a “video gait analysis” (your gait is your pattern of movement over a solid surface) where they get you to run naturally and then determine how your foot falls and can more accurately offer advice on correct footwear. These specialist stores, have trainers with built in supports to even-out the imbalance.

I have a pair I bought in Barcelona and really noticed the difference when I was looking to get new trainers. I had adjusted to the supports and felt really unstable without them. So that’s why I got myself some insoles for my new trainers. I’ve only been using them for a little while so I can’t say for certain that they are as good, but they do seem to help.

And while on the subject of futuristic footwear….

What About The Shoe That Tones Your Butt And Legs As You Walk?

When I first saw these I had to laugh. They just seemed so gimmicky. It’s a great sales angle, I’ll give them that. What female does not want a more toned butt and legs? But do they work? I had a look at their site and they sound great, butt :) I’m just not convinced that they are the amazingly effective products they claim to be.

Reebok EasyTone trainers - It's a great sales pitch, but I'm just not convinced. Plus the models in the ads didn't get legs and butts like that from these trainers.

I’m also not sure how suitable they are for exercise other than walking. What I do like about theses trainers, and the site, is that they encourage the wearer to be more aware of their daily activity.

My advice would be to save your money and invest in a good pair in of cross trainers. And who knows, one day our cross trainers my have power lacing technology!! But will they be suitable for our hoverboards?

I’ll leave you with this clip from a few years back demonstrating why we need power laces, enjoy:

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