Seemingly inspired by the technology from Iron Man, a new hiking boot uses automated pistons to prevent ankle injuries. Enter the high-tech boots from BetterGuards.
Many outdoor companies talk about “technology” when describing shoes, but BetterGuards might be among the first to add actual machinery. The company’s new hiking boot, called the Terrein, is also the name of a new outdoor brand launched by BetterGuards. The boot includes an integrated mini-piston system that “mimics the function of ligaments and muscles to guard the ankle from injury,” the company claims.
Basically, the shoes come with motion-activated sensors that stabilize the ankle at the exact moment a hiker takes a fall. While human muscles require 100 milliseconds to activate, the boots’ pistons need only 30 milliseconds.
An ‘Adaptive’ Boot
In short, the Terrein boots use technology to improve upon the reflexes of human bodies. And there’s certainly evidence to support the idea that hiking boots could use an upgrade. Among hikers, ankle injuries remain the most common, accounting for 40% of all injuries, according to the German Journal of Sports Medicine.
To try to prevent those injuries, BetterGuards developed what it calls the “first adaptive hiking boot.” It put the Terrein through extensive testing, with more than 11,000 hours of trials with professional athletes, the company said. It works by effectively applying braking force to twisting movements with the ankle-mounted pistons.
“TERREIN is giving the outdoor community the freedom and confidence to go further,” said Francois Tabard, the company’s general manager. “Free from physical restrictions, mental barriers and the fear of injury, BetterGuards’ transformational technology combines the natural freedom of motion with effective joint protection. If an ankle faces high twisting velocities, the protective system inside TERREIN blocks further movement and allows the wearer to regain level footing.”
Other Features, Availability
The Terrein’s construction mimics socks to allow for “full freedom of movement.” The power adaptor is stored in high-abrasion fabric that ensures durability without affecting the shoe’s comfort — it’s unclear whether you have to keep them plugged in.
The eponymous brand also used Velcro to make the shoe as flexible as possible for different feet. As for the outsole, it has a high-grip rubber compound to maximize safety and traction.
It’s also surprisingly affordable. The boot is available at TERREIN Footwear for between $193-231 — comparable to many high-end hiking boots. Available in two colors, sand and turquoise, these boots are now available for preorder as of June 20.