Here in the self-proclaimed Shoe Capitol of the World, initial promoter fears of a flop were flipped as record crowds stomped around impatiently this morning, awaiting the premiere opening of the SmartShoe Expo in this city’s Plaza de Toros de León. Over 50 vendors, ranging from well-known tech and fashion giants to recent garage startups, are in attendance this weekend.
While there is more vaporware and promisewear than actual footwear being displayed at this first-ever exposition of a rapidly growing new technology segment, there is still plenty to see and try on for size.
Nokia™ and Samsung™ are both in attendance, promoting similar smartshoe solutions in the form of high-tech ‘booties‘ designed to slip over conventional footware. Both industry giants offer an initial suite of useful apps for measuring distance walked, and similar utilitarian needs.
Technology frontrunner Apple™ is an extremely visible presence, with a first glimpse at the much-rumored iPed line of smart footware.
Sporting a re-visioning of the Apple™ iPhone iOS system software (dubbed ‘OS X and a half’), all of the new shoes in the line come standard with Apple’s proprietary new BlueToe™ wireless connection technology, the much acclaimed (and still controversial) GroundUp™ toecam, and the new FootLites™ holographic projection system. All basic packages include ShoeBoxBand™, a music creation app that uses FootLites™ and Apple’s FootStomp™ input system to allow wearers to make music while dancing, rather than dancing to the music.
One of the Apple Shoe Geniuses at the event dismissed as ‘totally uncool drivel‘ concerns that the toecam technology could be used by voyeurs in a fashion similar to the highly polished or mirror-toed shoes of decades past. She also downplayed fears of potential fire or explosion issues with the lithium-ion battery in the sole of each iPed™ shoe, as well as unconfirmed reports of electrical shock when walking in the rain or jumping in puddles.