(Pocket-lint) - Nike has announced the launch of its new Nike+ basketball boots in the UK, allowing British basketball players to measure stats as they play thanks to a bevy of sensors in the soles of the new shoes. Pocket-lint was on hand to try them out.
The lightweight boot is made from the Nike usual materials and comes in a striking black and blue design which - depending on the colour of your kit - will either work well or look awful. Nike has a strong heritage in basketball and on their own this shoe doesn't stray from the path.
We had the chance to do some slam-dunk practice on concrete and for the five minutes we were wearing the shoe they felt comfortable. But that's not why you are here.
You want to know about the tech involved.
Inside is the Nike+ Sport sensor, a black-box, if you will, built into each shoe that collects information about the users' movement from pressure sensors in the sole and then wirelessly transmits the data in real time to a Nike+ Basketball app on their iPhone.
This being Nike, the data is then translated into something tangible and pretty, rather than an array of boring spreadsheet data, for you to analyse later.
In the case of the Nike + Basketball boots it measures how high, how hard and how quick players play each game.
Sync up your shoes with the app and straight away you are given a graphical representation of your shoes and the pressure you are applying. Go on your tiptoes and the app's "heat map" responds instantly. It's great fun in itself.
As you would expect, the data also captures Nike Fuel points so you can make sure that information is added to your daily total if you are working towards a set goal.
In an attempt to encourage you to share your cool new shoes, the iPhone app also includes a 'Showcase' mode that allows players to record a dunk and superimpose their live data on to the video, which can then be shared with friends via Twitter, Facebook or elsewhere via YouTube. Yes we did that, although we have to admt that Nike was kind enough to lower the hoop so we had a chance.
In practice, and we tried to score "big" for the Showcase feature so we could share it with you without being embarrassed.
First go we manage to jump more than 20 inches - not bad seeing as we haven't played basketball for almost two decades (excuses we know), however that's still a long way off LeBron James's 40 inches plus when he gets some proper "air".
My immediate response: "Maybe I can do better."
So I try, try, and try again. I eventually get another over 20-inch jump and stop, but it instantly dawns on me that in sharing the news with others this is a tool that will urge you to do better in a task or a skill set that you haven't been able to measure before. It's about making it a game.
And in that regard it succeeds and succeeds very well. It's obvious to see that if you play basketball the idea of knowing how high you jumped, how long you ran, or even how intensely you ran over the course of a game or in training will be great for bragging with your mates.
Nike's challenge will be how to help you take this newfound data and turn it into something to benefit from rather than just some stats to say that once you were great.
The new Nike + Basketball shoes are available in the UK now. Oh and here is a video on someone at the US launch doing a far better job than us.