PC maker Lenovo is dabbling in wearable sportswear business. They have unveiled a pair of smart shoes.
Developed in partnership with Vibram, the shoe counts your steps and tracks calories burned. It contains a customizable 3D-printed insole and charges wirelessly via a shoe-sized charging panel.
This isn’t the first smart shoe I’ve seen. Under Armor unveiled their Speedform Gemini 2 earlier this year.
The trouble with integrating the smarts into the shoe is that many runners have multiple pairs of shoes. For example, I have three pairs of road shoes and some trail shoes I use for runs in different substrates or across different distances.
It’s a clever move for Vibram as shoe manufacturers can get customers to buy into a product ecosystem rather than simply buying a commodity item.
I see it as applying Apple’s operating model to use the hardware to engage you in a product ecosystem in order to lock you in.
Lenovo’s engagement with Vibram is interesting as it signals a shift as the global PC market continues to contract and become less profitable.