The sports world is always pushing for new technology. Technology allows us to push our limits as human beings and achieve feats that have never been achieved before. It solves the problems that hold us back from reaching our potential. This past decade the sports tech industry has grown massively, including in the areas of wearable tech, sports clothing or helpful gadgets. When it comes to outdoor sports, the inventor is faced with a whole new set of challenges; things need to be weatherproof, adapt to light conditions and much else besides. These are the most exciting new bits of sports tech to look out for.
A piece of kit that you’re guaranteed to see improving chances at the US Masters this year is the Precision Pro Golf Rangefinder, but not during the actual competition. Interestingly, most professional players choose to use rangefinders during practice, but they aren’t allowed during some tournaments, including the US Masters. Fortunately for favorite Rory McIlroy, he finds that using a rangefinder during practice helps him assess his accuracy; so rather than being a tool he relies on, it’s a tool he learns from.
The Precision Pro Golf Rangefinder NX9 HD, which was released at the end of last year, uses new technology to more accurately account for slopes in the course. Being able to measure distances with this degree of accuracy is vital for the pro golfer and it might just be that this bit of kit helps give the edge necessary to win such a title.
Innovation for Runners
Sports shops always seem to be made up of about fifty percent of trainers and with good reason. Style changes year on year, a surprising number of people collect them, they wear out if you’re exercising in them and they’re about the most comfortable footwear option around. All of this works together to make them a frequent purchase, perfect for stocking up the shelves with.
Whilst style is great, it’s nothing without substance and that’s where Nike tends to lead the field. Last year they released their Joyride soles, a special technology that allows these trainers to be far more comfortable than anything else on the market – perfect for long-distance runners. This technology uses thousands of tiny beads that fill the bottom of the sole. The beads move with the foot, creating a cushioning effect that’s also sturdy. The beads sit in little pods, which allows them some movement to cushion the impact from the foot, but not enough movement to be pushed out of shape. The first shoes to feature this exciting new technology are the Nike Joyride Run Flyknit – they’re like walking on air.
Peace of Mind for Horse Riders
Of all the outdoor sports, there’s nothing quite like horse riding to really make you feel in touch with nature. The main complication comes with assessing the health and fitness of your partner! Many hours have been wasted watching a maybe slightly lame or maybe not lame at all horse, trotting up and down, turning in a tight circle and walking backward, only to come to no definite conclusion and have to leave the riding for the day. Riders who have ‘good doers’ will also know the frustration of rationing feed, upping workload and still not being able to do up the girth.
So, Estridge answered everybody’s prayers in one fell swoop and invented a ‘FitBit’ for horses. This technology is a simply brilliant idea that is water-resistant and shockproof, so can be worn in your horse’s boot, without fear of damage. It measures the stride of your horse, making it infinitely easier to check for evenness. The data is all delivered to an app on your smartphone, which removes all of the guesswork and makes for a much safer life for your horse.
As well as this, the device also measures your horse’s expended calories, meaning that you can get a better idea of whether to up their exercise, cut their feed or vice versa. A nice little feature that competitors will love is the height measurement of a horse’s jump. Sure you might be jumping 1m20 regularly, but if your horse is clearing it by an extra 10cm then it might be time to up those fences!
Sure-footedness For Hikers
Some people wrongly think of hiking as an aging person’s sport, but they couldn’t be further from the truth. Hiking boots tend to feature some of the most innovative technologies because the terrain they have to cope with is so much more challenging than in other sports. Whilst it would be possible to pick almost any of the hiking boots that have been released in recent months, the Vibram Megagrip sole is what is making particular boots stand apart.
The Vibram Megagrip is a super high-performance sole that has been trialed and tested on the slipperiest of trails. The soles of the boot are genuinely sticky and will work in ice, snow, wet ground and loose terrain. The Asolo Falcon GV hiking boots use these soles to their benefit and when combined with their ankle stabilizing technology, they make for a boot that is totally infallible in even the most difficult underfoot conditions.
Visibility for Skiiers
Winter sports require a great deal of kit, be it for safety, warmth, breathability or, indeed, vision. Ski goggles are an essential part of any winter sports enthusiast’s arsenal, as they are absolutely crucial to avoid snow blindness. Of course, the problem comes with a glare. As our eyes struggle to deal with glare, so do goggles, but Glade Adapt seems to have done away with this problem.
Until now you’d be looking at paying at least $200 for a set of photochromatic goggles, as the technology is more expensive. Photochromatic lenses actually adjust depending on the lighting conditions; in times of high white light they’ll darken to a redder tone, reducing glare, whilst in times of poor light, they’ll lighten, allowing more sunlight through. This makes them the perfect choice for skiers, particularly cross country, where you’re likely to encounter bright white snow, followed by shade from cliffs and trees. The Glade Adapt goggles are only just over a hundred dollars, and with top of the range photochromatic lenses, they’re incredible value for money.