Sensoria Smart Socks and Bluetooth Anklets – Running ‘Smart’ (http://www.sensoriafitness.com/)
I have been a runner almost my entire life. I ran when I was a kid for fun, then continued this passion to run in high school and college. Collegiate running was tough on my body as I found myself injured with a femoral stress fracture nearly every season. After college, I took a break from running for about 2 years as I bike raced and dabbled in triathlon. I continued my education and went to UW-Milwaukee to pursue an MS in Biomechanics, an interest that stemmed from my history in running injuries. I studied foot kinematics in runners with and without plantar fasciitis, as well as other injuries. With this degree, I started to become much more aware of my own running kinematics and realized that the root of my collegiate running injuries might have come from improper biomechanics. Post grad studies, I started to ramp up my running again as I started to pick up triathlon more seriously. I didn’t want to get injured again so was still very cautious. I started to race triathlon professionally in 2015, still holding my running mileage and intensity back while slowly increasing my mileage over time.
Flash forward a couple of years, in May 2017, I fractured my clavicle on a training ride. This forced me to take a break from all things training for several weeks. I stopped running for a good solid 3 weeks, but tried to keep some aerobic conditioning up by power walking before slowly getting back into the running. I was nervous about being away from running and ramping up too fast and possibly with bad run form, so I knew my run biomechanics were critical to staying injury free! I contacted Sensoria (http://www.sensoriafitness.com/) about testing out their smart socks and Bluetooth anklets so I could get instant feedback on my run form.
I first tried them out while power walking, then started to wear them as I transitioned from walking to running. The instant feedback kept me in check as I continued to get my feet under me and ramp up my training volume. It prevented me from being lazy with my strides and forced me to concentrate on perfecting my form. The anklets helped with cadence and foot strike, both of which have helped me to transition back to running successfully. On easier runs and at the end of long runs, I found these anklets to be the most useful because that is when I need feedback the most – when my mind tends to turn off and not focus on foot strike. However, after starting workouts/interval runs again I don’t need this feedback, don’t want to carry my phone while running necessarily, and don’t want anything on my ankles so I have not used the anklets during workouts.
The Sensoria smart socks and Bluetooth anklets have their time and place while training. I found them most useful as I transitioned from walking to running and while I did easier runs. The instant feedback I got was nice and kept my mind focused on proper running form, which then carried over to all my runs. The smart technology that has been coming out more recently can serve runners/walkers well by improving foot biomechanics, but I also think athletes should seek out a running coach who can provide proper form correction. Technology can be a great supplement while training alone, however, coaches and the feedback they give are irreplaceable. Those new to running or walking may find this device more useful as they begin to develop their gait, however some may find the restriction of needing to use a specific sock and carrying their phone to be cumbersome.