LAS VEGAS — If there's one emerging trend from CES 2016, it's footwear that tracks your movement and then delivers coaching advice to your smartphone. Joining the likes of Under Armour and New Balance, iFit is releasing the Altra IQ running shoe, which, like its competitors, has sensors embedded in the sole to provide feedback on your runs. The Altra IQ will cost $199 when it becomes available this summer.
The Altra shoes have sensors that, in addition to measuring your stride length and cadence, will also be able to tell you if you're landing heel first — a big no-no — or if your forefoot is hitting the ground first. It will also be able to tell you if you're landing harder on one foot than the other.
One of the biggest differences between the Altra IQ and Under Armour's Gemini 2 is that the battery in the Altra, which should last up to 6 months, is replaceable. The battery in the Gemini can't be removed, but Under Armour says it should last much longer than the lifetime of the shoe, which is about 400 miles. In both cases, the batteries are only used when you're running; otherwise, the shoes shut themselves off.
Another difference between the two shoes is that the Altra is a zero-drop shoe, meaning there's no change in the thickness of the sole from the heel to the toe. The Gemini have a bit of a drop, which I personally preferred when running with them.
The Altra IQ are built on the same platform as the Altra Impulse, which have generally received good reviews online from running sites. Yet their $199 price makes them about $50 more than Under Armour's shoes, which may factor into some runners' decisions. However, both companies may find their shoes being eclipsed by connected removable insoles — yet another nascent technology I also saw at this year's CES.