Yes they’re here, the latest bolt on to the smart phone-meet smart shoes!

We’ve recently been looking into the rise of shoes in the technology sector, sounds odd but it’s really happening… Much has been written about the drawbacks of smart phones and social media, particularly our increasing dependence on them. We’re becoming a nation – make that a world – of screen junkies, glued to our phones, often oblivious to our surroundings. According to Psychology today, the average mobile phone user checks their device 150 times a day, with 70% of respondents claiming that they would have feelings of depression, panic and helplessness if their phones were lost and stolen. 80% even said they felt jealous when someone else held their phones. Well here to the rescue are two recent technological designs that could help us kick these addictive patterns to the curb. Quite literally.

You’ve heard of smart phones, but have you heard of smart shoes? Launched in May 2016, the Barcelona Street Project involves smart shoes which sync with a cellphone app to navigate the wearer to their destination. Developed by easyJet in conjunction with Google Maps API, the system uses a vibration module, battery, and miniature Bluetooth Low Energy unit inside the sole of each shoe. A ‘buzz’ in the heel indicates which direction to turn, with two buzzes for a wrong turn and three signaling arrival at the destination. The concept shoes were developed so that tourists can enjoy the view when they walk around a new city rather than look down at their phones, but why not use them everyday?

One step on from that, “In Good Company” have brought out a shoe that aims to counteract the trap of social media and the constant alerts. A prototype shoe, that was beta launched in April 2016, allows people to switch off digital communications at certain times of the day. The shoe has a RFDuino chip in the heel, allowing the wearer to personalize preferences for mobile apps, contacts and timings, using the accompanying cellphone app. The ‘In Good Company‘ shoe is a collaboration between UK men’s footwear company Anatomic & Co and University College London.

So now you can eschew your phones for shoes, liberating your hands and restoring them to being footloose and fancy free again. You heard it here first.