This Smart Footwear Wants to Make You a Better Runner

Remove the guesswork from your running form with these brainy footwear upgrades

You may have had a coach who barked about picking up your knees. Or perhaps you looked at the wear patterns of your worn soles to see where you scuffed. Along came motion-control shoes, designed to do the thinking for you, steering your feet through the gait cycle.

All of this is a roundabout way of informing your body to improve form for greater efficiency, speed and reduced likelihood of injury. Here, we look at the future: shoes and insoles that use tiny sensors and smartphone apps so you can receive sophisticated biomechanical data, analysis and even coaching advice on the fly.

Altra Torin IQ

$220, Altrarunning.com
The draw: Easy app; useful coaching; cushioned, zero-drop ride
Altra’s first IQ shoe is built into its most popular road model, with the company’s signature zero-drop platform and wide toe box. The shoe’s “brains” use dual sensors to show when you are landing on the forefoot, midfoot or heel. The info is transmitted to Altra’s free IQ App for live information on cadence, contact time and impact rate; it then converts the data into real-time coaching tips.

Under Armour SpeedForm Gemini 3 Record-Equipped

$160, Underarmour.com
The draw: MapMyRun connected; simple functionality; performance midsole cushioning
Under Armour’s digitally connected trainer syncs with the UA MapMyRun via a smartphone app to offer both direct metrics and analytics in a plush, neutral shoe. The Gemini 3 RE can store data for syncing later (so no phone required) or track data live. The shoe uses a unique jump test to measure muscular fatigue and help determine the intensity of your next run, and it comes with a one-year membership to UA’s MapMyRun MVP.

Stridalyzer Marathon or Performance

Stridalyzer Marathon, $89 (no phone required, one sensor) or Performance, $139 (phone required, four sensors), Retisense.com
The draw: Use with any shoes; granular data and analysis

Unlike smart shoes, the multi-sensor Stridalyzer insoles are swappable with any training or racing flats. Cadence, impact stress, body balance, ground contact time and foot-strike data are transmitted to a connected smartphone and coupled with Stridalyzer Analytics to offer form guidance. Though the insole is slightly thicker than a shoe’s stock version, we couldn’t feel the sensor underfoot.