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Review: Sensoria's smart socks are a futuristic novelty that no runner really needs

Caitlin McGarry | June 18, 2015
I run 15--20 miles a week on New York City sidewalks and through parks without aches or pains, which I attribute to good shoes and good luck. I'm not particularly diligent about stretching or paying attention to my form. Foam rolling? Forget it. But I'd eventually like to start adding longer-distance runs to my routine, and I know I need to be mindful of injuries. So I bought a pair of smart socks--yes, smart socks--to see if intelligent textiles can help me improve my performance beginning at the most basic level: the way my feet hit the pavement.

I'm usually not a fan of the voice-coaching that running apps offer, because it's distracting and not that useful. Sensoria's coach, Mara, offers some helpful advice like reminders to land on your forefoot more, or to slow down when you're getting ahead of yourself. But the voice-coaching section of the app has so many settings that it's tough to tell what level of advice is useful and what veers into annoying territory. Even after four runs with this app, I still couldn't strike the right balance. And the metronome sound designed to keep your cadence on point is like a mallet through the eardrum, especially when you're trying to listen to music.

Novelty vs. real solution

I wanted to love Sensoria's socks, because sensor-laden clothing has the potential to keep amateur runners, pro athletes, and those of us in between from seriously injuring ourselves with poor form--and it's just plain cool. But right now it still feels more like an expensive novelty than a solution for a real pain point. At $199 for two pairs of socks and a Bluetooth anklet, Sensoria's fitness bundle isn't useful enough to justify the price tag. There are more useful high-tech workout accessories you can buy and wear constantly, not just on days when you remembered to wash your socks. (Each pair of socks will survive 60 washes before you have to put them out to pasture. Replacement socks are $49 a pair.)

There's also something to be said for paying attention to your body's cues, which are far more informative than any app's metrics. If your technique is bad enough to cause you injury, you'll feel it.

If you're a serious runner looking to quantify every aspect of your performance, you might want to add Sensoria's smart socks to your line-up of high-tech gear. For everyone else, a quality fitness-tracking band and a great running app will do the trick.

 

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