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How well do your shoes fit? Are you doing more harm than good by training for that marathon? Arizona-based eSoles wants to help you answer that question with custom-made, electronic insoles that will soon be able to communicate with 3G smartphones.
The company started in 2005 and initially catered primarily to athletes, particularly those in biking, running, or golfing. Glen Hinshaw, eSoles CEO, was himself a cyclist and found that his teammates were all facing problems finding a properly fitting shoe. ESoles had success making high-end insoles for athletes on the U.S. Olympic team in 2007, but Hinshaw thought the technology could also translate to the average consumer.
Enter the eSoles kiosk: Place you foot on an electronic panel, and the system will wirelessly transmit data about your foot and suggest the proper insole. ESoles is currently in the process of rolling out these kiosks in Sam’s Club stores across the country, and they are also available in specialty bike and golf stores and PGA Tour stores.
The insoles come in two varieties–the eFit and the EPro. You can be fitted for an eFit insole in as little as 5 minutes for $69.99. For a more customized fit, wait a week and upgrade to the eFit for $249. All the data about your feet are stored in an online profile, so you can re-order or upgrade at any time.
The insoles will currently work best with athletic gear, or any shoe with a removable insole, though Hinshaw said that the company is working on an option for high heels. They will typically last about two years, depending on how much you wear the shoes.
By next year, eSoles hopes to enable these insoles to communicate with 3G smartphones or Bluetooth devices, Hinshaw said. The company is working with Qualcomm on the chipsets.
What type of information will your foot relay? Most people will want to use it for basic information like number of steps per day, calories burned, or mapping purposes, Hinshaw said. But he also pointed to medical uses. If a patient with type 2 diabetes is suffering from neuropathy, where they cannot feel their feet, the eSoles chip can transmit information to a patient’s medical provider if it senses that person is developing a blister or other condition that requires medical attention.
“We’ve been working with the best [in athletics], but now we’re really bringing that great science and product to the mainstream for a good, affordable but very technical benefit,” Hinshaw said.
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