South African pavement pounders will soon be able to track their runs via their footwear because sportswear maker Under Armour has announced it’s bringing one of its connected shoes to our market next month. The Under Armour HOVR Infinite has a sensor embedded in the midsole of the right shoe and connects via low-energy Bluetooth to the MapMyRun app on the wearer’s smartphone. The fancy footwear goes on sale this month at a recommended retail price of R2 500.
In addition to basic metrics like distance, pace and splits, the Infinite’s sensor can also provide information on stride length, cadence and — thanks to a recent update — users can get detailed information on their gait along with ‘virtual personalised coaching’ from the MapMyRun app to help them shave those crucial seconds off their 5K times.
Going the distance
The Infinite is the fourth iteration of UA’s connected running shoes, but the first to come to South Africa (at least through official channels, rather than a jet-setting pal’s luggage). Moreover, the Infinite is the company’s first shoe intended for marathon runners. What does that mean?
For starters there’s a full-length sole made from UA’s proprietary ‘HOVR foam’ which promises both “comfortable landings and springy take-offs”, an outsole designed to offer extra grip and additional cushioning, and a two-piece upper for a fit that should feel like an active-wear-clad koala hugging each foot.
The shoes also work on treadmills and Under Armour says the tracking feature functions even if you don’t take your phone with you. Like the details on battery life — we’re told the sensor will last “the life of the shoe” — details about how the Infinite tracks distance without a phone present for GPS are vague, but presumably it’s thanks to historical data from which it can infer other metrics, much like a GPS-less run with a Fitbit fitness band.
Between smartwatches, fitness-tracking wristbands, heart-rate monitoring earphones and smartphone apps, there are already myriad ways to track a run, but putting the means to do so in a shoe makes a whole lot of sense. We’ll bring you a full, feet-on review as soon as we can.