Earlier this week, Chinese athletic footwear Li Ning announced its plan to launch smart running shoes in collaboration with Huami Technology, the fitness wearable company behind Xiaomi’s Mi band. The running shoes will get smart chips placed into the heels of soles, allowing users to analyze their running form, keep track of their running progress and monitor goals directly from the Xiaomi app.
Sounds familiar? Yes, just remember Nike+ smart shoes. The one with a “+” in the style name. Nike, in partnership with Apple, entered the wearable market as early as 2006, with the Nike+iPod shoe-sensor package. Nike+ smart shoes have a designed pocket under the sockliner to hold a Nike+ sensor.
Is Ni-Ling/Xiaomi the new Nike/Apple of China?
“We have chosen to collaborate with the Mi band because of Huami Technology’s strength in “smart” wearable products. We hope to use this opportunity to provide professional “smart” running shoes to running enthusiasts in China at an affordable price.” – Li Ning’s execs
The partnership marks Li Ning’s first foray into the world of wearable smart clothing. It’s also the brand’s latest effort to recapture its glory days by appealing to a younger generation. Last but not least, this first collaboration between sports and “smart” technology in China is another sign that Xiaomi continues to grow its Internet of Things ecosystem.