Puma Is Re-Releasing 3 Decade Old Smart Shoe That Was Lightyears Ahead of Its Time

The concept of today’s smart, connected wearables just didn’t exist back in the 1980s when text-only operating systems like MS-DOS were still famous and used by the masses. But that didn’t stop Puma from launching what was probably the world’s first fitness tracker by strapping a chunky computer to the back of a sneaker. Thirty-two years later, Puma is bringing those shoes back with the same design, but with renewed tech inside.

The Puma RS (Running System) Computer shoes were created way back in 1986 and helped introduced the idea of keeping tabs on your performance during a run—which is functionality that everything from your smartphone to your smartwatch offers today. But in 1986, squeezing everything onto a tiny chip wasn’t an option, so the Puma RS Computer sneakers had a distinctive bulge on the back containing the electronics needed for counting steps, tracking calories burned, and a port for transferring workout data to an Apple II or Commodore 64 desktop computer using a data cable.

The shoes weren’t a big hit back in 1986, and Puma only produced them in limited quantities. But their distinctive design, and the fact that the RS Computer sneakers were so ahead of their time makes them the perfect bait for nostalgia seekers, and Puma is ready to cash in on the ‘everything old is new and novel again’ trend.

On December 13, the shoemaker will re-release its RS Computer sneakers, limited to just 86 independently numbered pairs and only available at select Puma and other sneaker stores in Berlin, Tokyo, and London. The physical design and appearance of the sneakers aren’t changed much, but Puma has improved the technology it uses with a three-axis accelerometer, enough memory to store 30 days worth of workouts, Bluetooth for wirelessly connecting the shoes to a smartphone app, and a USB port for charging. And while it’s technology that’s common and relatively cheap these days, but don’t expect these sneakers to be cheap in anyway.

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