Digital sneakers: new NIKE+ for basketballers and other athletes
By C.C. Weiss
February 27, 2012
In addition to launching knit shoes, Nike expanded its Nike + offerings last week with the addition of two new sneaker-based products. Nike+ Basketball and Nike+ Training use sensor systems and accompanying software to provide performance measurement and training tools for athletes. The systems reportedly make workouts more engaging and fruitful for their respective participants.
The basis for both the basketball and training systems is a pressure sensor that is built into the sneakers. This sensor measures movements throughout a game, practice or workout and transmits the data wirelessly to a smartphone equipped with the accompanying app. The athlete can then access the data to check out his performance, identify areas of improvement, and share with other athletes and friends.
In "Track My Game" mode, Nike + Basketball measures how high a baller is able to jump, how quick his movements on the court are and how hard he plays. The "Showcase" mode allows users to superimpose their performance data on a video of a dunk and share it with friends via social networks - it's kind of like a personal dunk highlight reel.
Nike + Training is similar in its design and aim, but tailors features to the needs of workouts. Nike says it was designed with input from prominent athletes like Rafa Nadal, Manny Pacquiao, Allyson Felix and Hope Solo, and aims to add a fun element to training. It uses a smartphone app to provide visual cues for short, focused workouts for strength, speed and fitness. As with the basketball version, the sensorized shoes send performance data to the phone, where it can be viewed and analyzed. Users can develop their own training programs through the app and can share and motivate each other via Web community.
The Nike + systems will be available on three shoes this summer. The Nike Hyperdunk+ is the basketball version that will be first worn by Lebron James. The Nike + Training system will launch on the women's Lunar Hyperworkout+ and men's Lunar TR 1+. All of the shoes will hit the US, UK, France, Germany and Mainland China markets on June 29.