Gimmicky Sneakers

WHY IT'S HOT New technology has made the plain old running shoe look boring

WILL IT LAST? Until Nike and fellow footwear makers get tired of profits

In an old Scooby-Doo episode, Shaggy and his friends play a basketball team that cheats by using supercharged "electronic sneakers." Gizmos on real-life sneakers are getting nearly as outlandish. Nike's Shox line, below left, introduced late last year at $150 a pair, features springs in the heels, providing runners and hoopsters with what the company calls "responsive cushioning." This summer the company also released Air Hyperflights, above right, an extra-light basketball shoe combining a...

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