Runners today enjoy easier access to sporting innovation and technology than ever before. From running watches, GPS trackers and heart rate monitors, to inventive approaches to laces, scales, and clothing, promises of a tech-rich future have largely borne out.
Old movies and books asserted by 2018 we would have flying cars, auto-fastening shoes, laser guns, and jet packs - and they were right. But what they didn't see coming was how runners would be able to feed their own futurist fandom with a huge choice of top running tech.
We may still need roads, but we may no longer need laces, maps, hardcopy schedules, analogue stopwatches, or personal trainers.
Here are some of the latest tech, inventions, and innovations to feed your futuristic fitness fantasies.
High-spec training watches
GPS watches have revolutionised training effectiveness for many runners, providing personalised training assistance and incredibly accurate progress tracking. Packing the power of an old desktop computer into a wrist watch and adding wireless connectivity has given today’s runners a completely new way to maximise the effectiveness of their training.
The Polar Vantage V comes pre-loaded with over 130 sport profiles making it possibly the only device you'll need. The new advanced Optical HR sensor fusion technology is Polar's most accurate heart-rate monitor yet and it even works in the pool - no more irritating chest-strap. The mammoth 40-hour battery life whilst in training mode will easily get you through a tough training block.
Thanks to the 945's built-in full-colour maps and popularity routing, you'll be able to run with confidence wherever you are in the world. The safety and tracking features give your loved ones peace of mind as you explore the trails and, should you get into trouble, you can even send your real-time location to emergency contacts. If you are going it alone, stay motivated with your favourite tunes; the 945 can store up to 1,000 songs and can also sync your favourite playlists from Deezer and Spotify.
The perfect watch for long-distance adventurers. Suunto 9 has three smart battery modes, Performance, Endurance and Ultra which allow activity recording for between 25 and 120 hours. Never run out of charge thanks to the real-time monitoring which gives you a heads-up if you need to switch to a more power-conserving mode. Even the GPS location tracking has been designed to minimise the drain on your battery, whilst still maintaining a high level of accuracy.
Push your limits with the most advanced Garmin watch yet. Tested to US military standards, the ultra-rugged construction will withstand the toughest conditions. As well as GPS navigation and running metrics, this feature-packed watch includes everything you need for a plethora of outdoor pursuits. For example, maps for over 2000 ski resorts are pre-loaded and there's a Pulse OX sensor to monitor blood oxidisation at altitude. Another major attraction, however, is its incredible battery life, lasting up to 48 days depending on your GPS tracking use.
Compression running wear is an innovation many saw coming. Skin-tight clothing seemed a common feature in every future-gazing Hollywood sci-fi movie, and we assume this was only because of its anticipated fitness benefits and nothing to do with showing off the actors’ toned physiques. Anyway, recent advancements see compression wear offer measurable benefits for runners and sports enthusiasts of all disciplines as the technology is continually refined and improved.
These clever tights help to alleviate the stresses and strains that running puts on the legs. Thigh mapping supports the knee joint whilst calf mapping reduces muscle oscillation, improving recovery and limiting soreness after your workout. The high-tech breathable fabric also gives you UPF50+ protection and features reflective logos for visibility when it's not so bright out.
If you're one of many runners who experiences knee pain, you might want to take a look at these recovery-boosting calf guards. They support the patellar tendon, without restricting movement, thanks to an ergonomic tab. The fibre has a micro-massaging effect that is triggered by every movement, helping your legs to stay fresh.
Innovative running shoes
Manufacturers are still mining the make-up of the running shoe for new ways to handle the pressures and stresses running has on the ligaments, joints, and bones. From lace-less models to see-through soles, the running shoe continues to be re-examined and reinvented. If anything, the famous self-lacing sneakers predicted by 1980s blockbusters are starting to look a little dated.
This futuristic footwear has a hidden sensor built in to track, analyse and store all of your running metrics. Sync your data to Under Armour's Map My Run platform so you can see your progress. The super-cushioned UA HOVR sole gives you a zero-gravity feeling, making them a perfect marathon choice for neutral runners.
The best-selling shoe from adidas has been revamped for 2019. An optimised BOOST sole delivers 20% more energy return than its predecessor. The 3D heel frame not only looks ultra-modern but it also gives a secure, locked-in fit whilst allowing the foot to naturally spread as it hits the ground.
From ultra-compactable water bottles to newfangled non-slip lacing systems and injury-reducing insoles, today's running accessories have solved all of the problems runners face on the road or trail. All, that is, except for the awkwardness of not knowing what to say to other oncoming runners. No one knows how to fix that.
A travel power charger capable of charging most USB powered devices such as your phone, GPS or music devices while you're out on a long run.
The dhb Elastic Lock Laces combine an incredibly tough elastic bungee cord with a spring-loaded lock giving a firm, secure and comfortable fit to your shoes. Now you will never need to tie another shoelace.
Combining a carbon fibre-reinforced stabiliser cap with a durable, ultralight foam layer, Superfeet Carbon’s distinct biomechanical shape and low-volume design can help improve the fit and feel of tight-fitting athletic footwear.
When you're running far enough to need water and snacks, but not far enough to need a bag, this is the perfect solution. The neat little holster has just enough room for keys and nutrition and the bottle itself is collapsable.
Start your run on the right foot. Drift off to sleep and then wake up gently to a gradual light that mimics sunrise and sunset. The Bluetooth enabled speaker lets you stream your favourite tunes from your phone as you get ready for your work out.