“Run faster! Jump higher!” claimed an ad for PF Flyers. In the 1950’s PF Flyers were the Holy Grail of footwear. And we bought into the hype, as if wearing sneakers meant we’d be able to walk across water!
Ads convinced us that we could be play better and athletes like Bob Cousy, the basketball player endorsed them. We were young and a boost in our confidence was like that “Magic Wedge” inserted in the Posture Foundation insole, it was a bit of a lucky charm.
Tire manufacturers found new uses for vulcanized rubber and literally, changed the way games were played. Sports that required agility and sure-footedness benefitted from sneakers, and in a best case scenario of innovation gave birth to new businesses– sports medicine, physical therapy and fitness programs, which all owe their success to rubber footwear.
Recently, Nike the sneaker guru announced plans to release a new hi-tech power-lacing sneaker and I sighed at the mediocrity of the design. Because power-laces sound fine when you’re having difficulty bending down to tie a shoelace, but they’re lame and not a worthy of the PF Flyer legacy.
New smart sneakers should exist. They should be interactive and efficient; offering counter-balance on uneven platforms and compensation of traction on slippery slopes. Wearers should be free of worry, and be exposed to minimal chances of twisting an ankle and no fear of a torn ligament. In a Digital Age, hi-top or lo-top techie sneakers should come standard with GPS, as well as muscle pulsation that tones and data gathering processors, all in real time.
Is my idea worth talking about? It is, if it generates thought. Whether it’s a lively discussion of data, innovation or sustainability, who really knows, but we do use the task driven, all motivating, action word a lot — RUNNING.
We sure do a lot of it: running programs, running Apps and running updates.
I’m reminded of a guy, who back in the early 1970’s was out wearing a tee-shirt, shorts and a pair of sneakers in Central Park. Someone asked him, “What are you running from?” He spun around and looked behind himself. He half expected to see a mugger, someone with a dark cap on, lurking in the shadows of the overgrowth, but there was no one. The question was repeated, “What are you running from?”
“A heart attack,” he replied and kept running.
Innovation is like that, transforming the mundane and making it loom larger than life. I for one need a pair of hi-tech sneakers, something that makes me run for my health, not after it and I’d like for it to be worry free.
Oh and please let them come with a free shiny brass decoder ring; because that should be a part of the Internet of Things.