For a long time, the technological advances in footwear were limited to lighter and more durable materials, and improved support and comfort. But the miniaturization of electronics and wireless technology is opening up the possibilities for extending the capabilities of the humble shoe. With sports men and women striving to find even the tiniest advantage over their opponents, sports footwear is generally the place to look for the latest advances in footwear as evidenced by the latest offering from adidas. The company describes its new adizero f50 football boot, (or soccer boot depending on your location), as a "football boot with a brain."
The "brain" of the adizero f50 is a miCoach SPEED_CELL that is located in a cavity in the sole of the boot that captures 360-degree movement and metrics such as speed, average speed (recorded every second), maximum speed (recorded every five seconds), the number of sprints, distance, distance at high intensity levels, steps and step length. However, unlike the miCoach armband we've seen previously, the adizero f50 doesn't monitor the wearer's heart rate. All the captured data is stored in the boot's on-board memory, which has the capacity to store up to seven hours worth of data, which is then transmitted wirelessly to a tablet, PC or Mac when it's time to hit the showers.
Statistics can be shared on Facebook and amateur footballers can compare their performance to professionals such as the current captain of the Argentina national team, Leo Messi, via the miCoach Website. The company even has plans to release an online miCoach videogame in 2012 that will let players use their own real-life abilities in the game.
Despite the inclusion of the miCoach SPEED_CELL, adidas claims the f50, at 165 g (5.8 oz), is world's lightest football boot. This is thanks to the use of Sprint Skin, a single layer synthetic material that it claims is thinner and lighter than the synthetics usually used, and a lightweight Sprint Frame on the outsole of the boot. The boot also features Agion anti-microbial technology and a new stud shape that adidas claims provides maximum acceleration on the pitch.
"Data has been monitored and evaluated to increase performance in elite athletes for many years. adidas will now bring this service to the consumer, firstly with the launch of the adizero f50, and then through a further range of intelligent products capable of storing, monitoring and evaluating performance on the field of play" commented Simon Drabble, Director of Interactive Technology at adidas.
The adizero f50 will be available worldwide from adidas in November for EUR210 (approx. US$277), while a bundle including the boots, a Speed Cell, a dongle to connect to an iPod or iPhone and the miCoach CONNECT for PC and Mac will sell for EUR245 (approx. US$324).