Sneaker technology arguably reached its zenith with the LA Lights children's footwear line that strobed neon lights with every step. That was pinnacle-level tech for the 90s, though, which means another sneaker from an unlikely manufacturer might take the cake for most technologically advanced shoe out there.
The sneaker in question is the Sneakairs, and the manufacturer is, surprisingly, U.K. budget airline EasyJet. While the crossover might not make sense yet, Wired reported that, far from lights in the soles or fitness tracker compatibility, EasyJet's Sneakairs instead pair with turn-by-turn directions to guide their wearers around unfamiliar streets with nothing more than bipedal buzzes.
Wired tested the satellite-enabled shoes during an EasyJet event in Barcelona, and by all accounts, the tech worked to a T. Instead of audible or visual directions, the Sneakairs employ foot-based haptic feedback to direct wearers around town. When a left turn is imminent, the left shoe vibrates; when a right turn is coming up, so goes the right shoe. Walkers that go off-track are admonished with two pulses in both shoes, and three quick vibrations in each mean that the trip is over and the destination is in view.
The Sneakairs tech is compatible with any common smartphone GPS navigation app, and though the shoes are still in rough prototype phase, the embedded sensors in the soles can theoretically be swapped out and implanted into any other pair of footwear. Though speculation is all there is at this point in the timeline, that could be where EasyJet is taking the souped-up sneakers. Unless consumer apparel is going to supplement the carrier's normal revenue streams, licensing the tech that makes Sneakairs work to other apparel brands could keep its newest offering's feet planted firmly on the ground, while the head of the business remains high above the clouds.