Yes – Virtual Reality Shoes Are Now A Thing

By BERND FISCHER
15 January 2019
Gear, CES, Tech
Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment
The Kickstarter-funded Cybershoes made their IRL debut at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and it should have VR gamers jumping for joy. Quite literally.

While the everyday usefulness of VR is still on the periphery, there are plenty of people yet to be convinced of how the technology can genuinely impact on the world. The worries generally boil down to two things: can it be more than mere novelty value and, secondly, can the glitches be ironed out to offer a smooth user experience that has so far been a little lacking. To those naysayers, we offer you one word direct from CES 2019: Cybershoes.

This brand has been at the forefront of the tech, allowing VR gamers on the PC gaming platform Steam to strap on footwear with tiny moveable wheels (TechRadar described them as resembling “the love child of a ski boot and a Heelie”) that tracks the wearers physical steps IRL and then imitates them in their virtual worlds.

Sounds easy enough, right? Depends who you ask. You may be seated on a rotatable Cybershoes chair, but depending on the movement of your legs as you walk or run around, you might just find yourself seated on the floor. “Unfortunately, the more frantically you move […] the more likely you’re going to end up falling off of your chair,” says Omar Mehtab of BBC Click, who tested the gear in Las Vegas.

That said, the risk might be worth it. “I’m getting quite a workout from this though,” adds Mehtab. An argument against the common critique that gamers live a sedentary life by remaining mostly motionless for hours on end? Fair enough, we think. On top of the decent amount of out of breath inducing animation playing requires, Cybershoes maintains that the average player would likely only spend one to four hours behind the screen. Another plus as far as "sitting is the new smoking" goes.

But nobody said wellness comes cheap. Expect to fork out around $515 for your new active lifestyle though.