Business of Design

These new shoes designed by Puma and MIT Lab can tell how you're feeling

Your shoes might be alive soon.

In collaboration with Puma, MIT Design Lab is developing products with a biological makeup. The idea behind this collaboration is that there is a more complete athletic experience when humans wear living, adaptable products.

In their presentation in April, Puma and MIT Design Lab, and powered by Biorealize, showed off their "biodesign" products. Notably, they presented "Deep Learning Insoles" and "Breathing Shoes."

Bacteria is the secret ingredient to the Deep Learning Insoles. Placed inside discreet crevices on the top layer of the insole, bacteria is able to detect compounds present in sweat. The bacteria then responds by changing the conductivity of the insole. The next layer registers these changes. The third and final layer broadcasts the information to the user's smart device. Users can read all about their fatigue and performance level in real time.

The Breathing Shoe has a biologically active shoe material that is home to microorganisms. The material learns a user's specific heat patterns and opens up ventilation based on those user-specific heat patterns. Every user winds up with a unique shoe.

Athletic-wear companies continue to develop products with more advanced technology. Puma and MIT Design Lab hope to shape the future of athletic wear with new technology. Their collaboration can potentially impact the design of sports jerseys, baseball cleats and shoes for marathon runners.

These biodesign products are still in early development. There are no formal plans to bring them to market yet.

These shoes developed by Puma and MIT Design Lab, use bacteria to improve athletic performance.
Source: MIT Design Lab, powered by Biorealize
These shoes developed by Puma and MIT Design Lab, use bacteria to improve athletic performance.