We have seen startups come up with fantastic running tech over the past year, but the year’s most interesting running gadget comes courtesy trail-runner favourite Altra. Altar’s new IQ range measures your stride dynamics from within the shoe, giving you the exact guidance on how to run and improve your running form.

Golden Harper, Altra’s founder, says in a Runner’s World article that designing it was not about helping runners have a more comfortable run “but providing a coach-in-a-box to improve your form.”

So the IQ is anything but traditional, the bigger question, however, is how well it can be used by the average consumer who may not be a professional runner.

Elite athlete get the same data that IQ provides but in a clinic environment (Image: Womens Running)
Elite athlete get the same data that IQ provides but in a clinic environment (Image: Women’s Running)

Sensors inside sole track forces at various points along the foot. This data is fed to a smartphone app which delivers firm conclusions about how the runners should be running. The sensors track where the runner lands (i.e foot-strikes) and the how hard they land. They also measure the cadence, give you exact details about how long each foot was in contact with the ground, and whether there was any disparity in their cadence. Data like this was never readily available to amateur runners.

It’s usually elite athletes or runners with a team that get such guidance – and that’s only through visiting specialised clinics or with some other complicated measurement. The IQ does that from within the confines of your shoe. The RW article says data is shown on the app like this: “’Try bending your knees a little’, ‘Run tall and proud’, and ‘Drive your elbows back past your hips’.”

Sensors snaking their way through the sole of the Altra IQ (image: Runblogger)
Sensors snaking their way through the sole of the Altra IQ (image: Runblogger)

The IQ also tells you in real-time through audio cues about how you are running, and how your form is changing through the run.

The IQ is built on the base of the Altra Impulse, introduced in autumn 2015. RW says the shoe is “light and moderately-cushioned, with a hint of stability from a built-in wedge that makes the arch side higher.” But the IQ itself will only be available in March 2016 for $199.

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