Go back to the future with Digitsole Smartshoes [Sticky or Not]

digitsole smartshoe

One of the most iconic pieces of future technology ever shown in movies or television is undoubtedly the Nike self-lacing sneakers in Back to the Future 2.

Why? Likely in part because it’s a beautiful design that has since been realized by Nike with a limited-edition run, but also because everyone hates leaning down to tie up their laces. The sneakers promised to ease one simple problem in a neat, futuristic and well-designed manner — is there anything more we could ask of a shoe-related gadget?

The answer, according to Digitsole Smartshoe, is a resounding ‘yes.’ The company’s titular project is a technologically-advanced shoe that does much more than lace itself.

The Bluetooth 4.0-connected sneakers also promises tracking capabilities, a 3D walk analyzer, smart heating and cushion monitoring. Through an accompanying app (available on both iOS and Android) users can do things like individually warm their feet to a maximum temperature of 45 degrees Celsius or check out their propulsion level, impact force and stability, among other metrics.

The sporty-looking shoes, which charge via microUSB at the back of the heel, are rated IP66 dust and water resistant, meaning they’re completely dust tight and protected against powerful water jets though not necessarily immersion.

The Digitsoles come in U.S. men’s sizes up to 13 and U.S. women’s sizes up to 11 and weighs approximately 1.18 pounds per U.S. men’s size 7.5 shoe. The battery life, meanwhile, reportedly lasts two weeks without the use of the heating system or five to eight hours of heat depending on outside and body temperature.

Currently, the shoes are available for pre-order on Kickstarter at the price of $199 USD (about $260 CAD) with free shipping to Canada, 66 percent off the expected retail price of $599 USD. The estimated delivery is December 2017.

Verdict: Almost sticky

I love the idea of these future shoes. In particular, the heating element appeals to my perma-cold extremities.

But I just can’t pull off the hardcore basketball look that the Digitsoles would have me rock. People would start thinking I play sports, and that would be false advertising.

Besides, the price point is a little high for the two features I’m interested in — self-lacing and foot-warming. Perhaps, however, for someone more engaged in their foot health and walking habits, the sneakers would make more sense.

In any case, ordering a pair of these puppies puts you a step closer to emulating Michael J. Fox, which is almost enough to make me smash that ‘pledge’ button right now. Until the design improves a bit, however, I’ll wait.

Note: This post is part of an ongoing series titled Sticky or Not in which Senior Reporter Rose Behar analyzes new and often bizarre gadgets, rating them sticky (good) or not (bad).