New fashion

Running shoes with a built-in 20-megahertz computer may be in stores by the end of the year, allowing runners who can shell out $250 a pair to have optimum, automatic cushioning for every step of their workouts. This is a seminal moment in fashion, when designers everywhere should be smacking their botoxed brows and saying, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

There’s so much more wearable computers could do. We’re thinking of a woman’s all-purpose dress shoe that would be flat for the sidewalks but could grow a heel as high as four inches upon entry to a restaurant or cocktail party. Footwear for men could elevate in response to the presence of an extra-tall date, and pants legs respond by automatically lowering the hem. Pedometers are popular for walkers looking to become fit, but they give wearers too much leeway to underachieve. How about shoes that couldn’t be removed until they had registered 10,000 steps for the day? Dieters might be interested in pants programmed to keep them straight and narrow through the waist, perhaps by constricting before too many calories, carbohydrates or fats had been consumed.

Of course, these innovations will take time, and designers should work especially hard

to get rid of any kinks. No one should have to feel the shame of having a computerised costume malfunction. — The New York Times