Puma has announced its latest take on self-lacing shoes just a few weeks after Nike unveiled one of its own self-lacing models. The sneakers, called “Fi” for “Fit Intelligence,” are training shoes that can adapt to a wearer’s foot with the swipe of a module on top of the shoe’s tongue. A micromotor pulls a pair of blue cables that run through the sneaker, and tightness can be adjusted through a smartphone app or an Apple Watch.
The shoes are the successor to Puma’s first wirelessly connected self-lacing sneakers from 2016, the AutoDisc. They can be charged via a Qi wireless charging pad, and they last around five days. Like Nike’s self-lacing shoes, the Fi don’t have any tracking capabilities to do things like log steps or measure calories burned, which is a bit of a disappointment. Even Puma’s (recently re-released) RS-Computer shoes from 1986 could record distance, time, and calories, but they came at the cost of a chunky heel.
In an interesting twist, Puma is putting out a call for “tech-savvy” people to beta test the shoe, so they can give feedback on its usability, design, engineering, and wearability. It makes sense that the company’s asking for feedback from regular customers since Puma says the Fi is made for workouts and light running.
My guess is that even with the feedback Puma receives from beta testers (which will probably be “add more features”), the Fi will remain self-lacing shoes for now. They’ll retail for $330 when they launch in 2020, which is $20 cheaper than Nike’s HyperAdapt BBs.