Future Fabric to ‘Power Shoes’… Wild Footwear Coming In 2015

Boots, running shoes, sandals, and footwear with electrical-charging capabilities (for real). These are among the innovations you’ll see in the footwear sections at running and outdoor shops next year and beyond.

Step For Power — Generate power by walking. That’s the claim with the SolePower insole. It fits in almost any shoe and has a small generator mechanism that is actuated by every heel strike, creating electricity.

You store your earned energy in a power pack that can be plugged into a phone or gadget to give it juice. Walk a few miles, charge up your dead phone. Pricing TBD.

Bike Rubber On Sole — A Continental rubber outsole, a removable insole/midsole combination insert that can be swapped out for different applications, and looks that could kill… the X King shoes are 2016 prototypes that we spied in the Adidas Outdoor booth at the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show last month.

The rumored inserts range from a heavily-padded “boost” foam to a minimalist, zero-drop option. It was difficult to resist a smash-and-grab of these innovative outdoor kicks at the trade show booth.

Dyneema Trail Shoe — Rarely does a material choice excite us about a pair of shoes. But the super-strong Dyneema used on the Mammut MTR 201 Tech Low turned our heads — this slippery, light, and “stronger than steel” material could be a perfect fit for anyone who abuses footwear and blows out shoe uppers like we do.

Mammut made the model for alpine running where scree, talus, rock slabs, and other abrasive obstacles are common on a trail or off-trail route.

Modern Bike Shoe — Merrell is peddling a pedal shoe in 2015, the Roust Fury, which has a mesh and suede upper and a sole made to bike or walk. A rigid midfoot gives pedal power with its nylon shank, but a flexible forefoot has some give when you’re walking off the bike. $110.

Light, Foam Birkenstocks — Cork and leather no more. A new kind of Birkenstock weighs just 4oz. per foot and are made of a dense foam. The Birkenstock Essentials EVA Collection could be a fine fit for around-camp footwear. $29.95 and up.

Canyons Calling — A next-generation canyoneering shoe, the aptly named Five Ten Canyoneer has a Stealth SI rubber sticky sole to grip on rock wet or dry. It’s updated with a new kind of mesh upper that has less seams and a sole stacked with large lugs. $180.

Planter Fasciitis Compression Sock — Designed to provide plantar fasciitis compression, the HA-1 from Zamst is a special sock made for sufferers of this most annoying of foot ailments.

It also gives “vertical gradual compression from the ankle through the calf muscle,” as the company puts it, ostensibly improving circulation and encouraging oxygen flow to the muscles. $59.99.

Wolverine Water Shoe — Made for use in and around water, the Manistique has drain ports and something called NXT Odor controlling enzymes (they are said to help prevent stink). Breathable mesh and polyurethane upper. EVA foam footbed made to wear without socks. $80.

We have covered several other 2015 footwear releases in recent articles. See the following for links:

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Stephen Regenold is Founder and Editor-In-Chief of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for nearly two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of four small kids, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.

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