We're big fans of running analytics here at Wareable, and a duo of gait sensing headphones from Soul Electronics have popped up at CES 2018.
The Run Free Pro boasts real-time coaching when paired with an iOS or Android app, much like team favourite Moov. However, unlike Moov this isn't done by a sensor on the leg, but via sensors on the headphones themselves.
The headphones will measure speed, distance, cadence, step length, step width, vertical oscillation, head tilt angle, stance/flight time, shock, maximum leg force, balance, and consistency – it's a very complete set of analytics, and one that most runners could benefit from.
Essential reading: How to understand your running watch
The second pair is the Blade (see main picture), which offers the same set of features but adds heart rate and elevation into the mix, thanks to the presence of an optical sensor and barometer built into the headphones.
Workouts are stored in the partner app, which the company says will analyse runs so you can boost performance over time. How well that app performs remains to be seen – with so many strong services out there, from the likes of Strava, the app will really need to drill into these advanced analytics to really stand out from the crowd.
Soul Electronics Run Free Pro
Both feature Bluetooth 4.0 and are sweatproof, so you don't need to worry about taking them out in the rain. And while Soul's experience is in making Bluetooth headphones, its teamed up with a company called Beflex Inc to power the fitness side.
"Gait Analysis was formerly conducted with full equipment in a specific environment, but with Beflex Inc's technology, the technology can now be implemented in our earphones through a method called Advanced Markerless Gait Capture," said Patrick Tang, SOUL Electronics CEO.
"By eliminating the markers, we are able to bring a range of earphones to market that make sport and fitness junkies' lives easier, maximizing their workouts and providing them with the best technology to improve performance over time."
We're big fans of wearables like the Moov and the Milestone Pod – and these new headphones have certainly caught the eye. But we're still pretty sceptical. Both those devices measure from the foot/lower leg, so both these headphones have their work cut out to match those for accuracy.
The South Electronics Run Free Pro costs $149.99 and the South Electronics Blade will set you back $249. There's no word on release date, but we're hoping to catch the team on the ground in Las Vegas.
How we test