Chinese athletic apparel company Li-Ning has announced a partnership with Xiaomi to produce “smart” running shoes, according to a Reuters report by Donny Kwok and Ryan Woo. The move comes as Li-Ning attempts to turn around sagging fortunes, as it prepares to post what many expect will be its third consecutive annual loss in profits.
Speaking in a press release, Li-Ning expressed a “hope to use this opportunity to provide professional ‘smart’ running shoes to running enthusiasts in China at an affordable price.” The article reports that the company will have Xiaomi install sensors into its shoes that will connect to a mobile app that lets runners “keep track of their progress and results, analyse their form, and monitor their achievements.”
It’s a hail mary pass that might actually work, given the booming interest in wearable technology. One biometric tech developer specializing in wearables recently reported a 300 percent increase in its licensing partnerships last year, while this year’s SXSW cultural festival – an intersection of leading artists and the hipster elite – will feature a special event discussing how wearable tech could make us happier. And in a recent, high-profile demonstration of the Apple Watch, we got a glimpse into just how pervasive this kind of technology could very well soon become in mainstream consumer society, which would be good news for all sorts of wearable tech developers.