from today's guardian:
"Two men arrive at the Guardian office with a silver case. We find a quiet corner and one of the men unlocks the case. Inside, cushioned in foam rubber, is a pair of trainers. The men are here to show me how to operate the trainers. Because these aren't any old trainers, they're special trainers. There are buttons on the side, and a panel of lights. And inside the sole of each shoe there is a lot of technology. I feel like James Bond with Q. "No, not that button 007!"
"But unfortunately the buttons don't release sidewinder missiles from the toe, they just alter the cushioning of the trainers. These men aren't from MI6, they're from Adidas. And they've brought along a pair of Adidas 1s, the world's first thinking trainer. A magnetic sensor in the heel figures out whether the ride is too soft or too hard, then using a small electric motor, adjusts the cushioning to the optimum level for a particular person running on a particular terrain. Which must explain the price, £175.
"After talking me through the technology, the men let me try them on. They feel comfortable, but slightly heavier than my current trainers. Will they make me run faster? No, they say, but I'll be cushioned just right. I run from the hard corridor to the softer carpeted area, and it feels pretty much the same. That shows they're working they say - the shoes are adjusting to make it feel the same. So, in theory, on a run that goes along a metalled road, then through a muddy field and on to the beach, if I was blindfolded I wouldn't know where I'd got to (apart from the noise of the seagulls, but then you get seagulls everywhere now). The whole thing would feel like running on clouds.
"When we override the computer and manually fix one on soft and the other on hard, it's easy to tell the difference. The shoes are working perfectly. I jog over to the fashion desk for a style assessment. Bad news. They're white and gold - a bit on the bling side. I'm told I look ridiciculous.
"Oh well, I'm going on holiday on Saturday. And with all those magnets and motors and sensors in the soles of these shoes I'm not sure I'd want to go anywhere near an airport in them, let alone attempt to board a plane."
so... would you buy them?