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The Wahu Adaptive Sole is exactly what you’d expect: it’s the sole of a shoe. But the trick is that it’s virtually magic. The Adaptive Sole adapts to the surrounding terrain by manipulating miniature cavities within its rubber role. By pressurizing the sole, it can adjust multiple petal-like pads in orientation to the terrain. In other words, the sole can change, and improve, how your feet come into contact with the ground.
These aren’t your grandpa’s shoes. The Adaptive Sole seems like something out of science fiction. While the Wahu possesses the ability to automatically adjust its feel and performance settings in response to terrain, it also includes some preset features. For example, if the wearer knows that there is snow ahead on the trail, they can pull out their smartphone and pair it with their shoe. They can then select the “snow mountain” preset on their smartphone. In response to the new setting, the shoe will then automatically expand its microcavities, increasing its snugness, and push the foot petals into climbing mode.
On top of providing an adjustable sole, the Adaptive Sole can also provide biofeedback data to its user including information on the wearer’s gait, which can help to improve workouts.
While Wahu representatives could not comment on their manufacturing partners or the licensees of their intellectual property, they did mention that a shoe based on their technology coming to market before the end of 2020.
But exact numbers on how durable the foot petals are, or how much the system would cost, remain unknown. My guess, based on how much high-end outdoor sports footwear costs, is in the $500 range. However, because there are no devices even remotely like the Wahu Adaptive Sole, anyone’s guess is as good as mine.