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adidas concept sneakerAt one time, athletic shoes were reserved for just that–athletics.  They were for bouncing around the basketball court or running on a track. But now, sneakers do a lot more than just provide protection for our feet. New models can “sense an athlete’s needs” with computers implanted in the soles or keep feet from getting too sweaty with microholes.

Though  “technology” usually brings to mind computers and miniature cell phones, it can also apply to footwear. Not too long ago the Reebok Pump was the definitive high tech sneaker. Now, recent innovations in the footwear category have taken athletic performance to new heights (so high, in fact, they’re banned by the NBA).  We’ve all seen or heard about concept cars, but how about concept sneakers? What can designers do to push the technological envelope?

Trend Central has got a great round-up of some new high concept running shoes. Check these hi-tech kicks out and let us know which ones you would buy:

WeSC Karmatech:  Nike might have been the first to connect a sneaker to the online realm, but  a shoe conceived for street wear brand WeSC by a group of Swedish students  may be the pioneer social sneaker. Called Karmatech, the concept utilizes a chip that allows wearers to interact with their environment after registering a unique ID number online linking their shoes to their social media accounts. When they encounter a proprietary mat, which ideally would be placed in strategic locations, the chip embedded in the shoe can do things previously only possible through a smartphone, like check in at a location or access exclusive deals.

Adidas Megalizer: Sneakers that mimic rollerskates or light up like a disco floor  have been around for some time. The latest to plug into the dance scene is the Adidas Megalizer, a concept sneaker that doubles as a synth-and-drums machine. Created to promote the release of Adidas’ MEGA sneaker collection, the Megalizer is outfitted with a wireless transmitter that captures the pressure applied to embedded sensors. When the wearer dances, a soundtrack is created in sync with the steps. Although the musical shoe is not available for purchase, shoppers can experiment with it in Adidas stores across France.

Nike+ ‘Paint With Your Feet’: How would you like to be able to hang a run on the wall? In the latest example of marrying two seemingly unrelated activities, Nike tapped  YesYesNo , an interactive collective that specializes in the creation of  installations that combine creativity, artistic vision and cutting edge R&D, to create software that translates a feat of athleticism into a work of visual art. As a promotion for the launch of its Free Run+ 2 City Pack series, Nike invited participants to a two-day workshop where they imported metrics—including speed, consistency and style—from their runs to create art based on them. Participants of the ‘Paint With Your Feet’ event each went home with a high resolution print of their unique run.

If you could come up with a concept sneaker, what would it do?

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