To be honest, we already thought shoes were pretty smart. They protect your feet from the elements, they keep you from stepping on sharp and disturbingly squishy things and they help you get where you need to go.
But technology never settles, guys. Now shoes are getting even smarter.
An Indian company called Ducere Technologies has created sneakers and insoles called Lechal that pair with an app and Google Maps to help you get from place to place. The shoe and insole are both connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth. You input a destination on the app and then as you walk around, your left or right shoe vibrates to show you which way to turn.
You can either wear the sneakers, which come in red or black, or put the insoles in shoes you already have.
The shoes and insoles were originally designed to help blind people navigate, in conjunction with a cane. As the company began to develop the shoes, it became clear that they could also have other uses. For every pair of footwear sold, Ducere will subsidize another pair for someone who is visually impaired.
The shoes don't just tell you where to go. They also serve as a pedometer and a calorie tracker.
Shoes are "a natural extension of the human body,” the company's co-founder and CEO, Krispian Lawrence, told the Wall Street Journal. You'd never forget to wear shoes, the way you might forget your phone or wallet at home, he says.
The shoes and insoles will be available in September for around $100. They're compatible with iPhones, Android and Windows phones. You can sign up to pre-order them now.
Yes, it's sort of expensive -- but cheaper than a pair of Air Jordans. Yes, it seems sort of ridiculous. Yes, you can just look at your phone to tell you where you're going. But walking down the street while looking at your phone is a real issue: When you aren't paying attention, you can be a danger to yourself and others. Need we remind you of the woman who fell into a fountain while walking and texting?
Technology is meant to solve problems. Sometimes they're big problems, and sometimes they're small ones.
This post previously misidentified the name of the shoemaker. The company is called Ducere Industries and the shoe is called Lechal. The post has been updated.