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Feb 10, 2007

GPS Sneakers: Gadget or Genius?

My newsreader was overflowing this morning with news about the GPS sneakers being touted by Quantum Satellite Technology. Retailing anywhere form $325 to $350 for adult sizes, the sneakers are not cheap.

According the story on the AP, they promises to locate the wearer anywhere in the world with the press of a button. The shoes appear to be aimed primarily to ease the fears of worried parents. Children's sizes will be out this summer. In addition to the hefty price tag, wearers must subscribe to a 24-hour monitoring service that runs $19.95 a month.

While there's tons of GPS-enabled navigation devices available, the firm argues that unlike cellphones, watches and bracelets, shoes are hard to lose. Obviously, they never met my kids. You can expect the predictable cries about "Big Brother" tracking us from the usual groups any minute now.

Privacy concerns aside, I can't see GPS shoes attracting many sales, even among parents. For teens, athletic shoes are first and foremost, a fashion statement. What kid wants to go to school and have the other kids find out his parents can track his movements with his shoes? Second, while athletic shoes are part of the standard teen uniform, there are places they are not worn. I may rest easy knowing my kids are wearing GPS shoes, but their mother would never let them wear them to the prom, or to church.

My view is that these GPS sneakers are a novelty that won't last for the long term.

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