When a product wears out, you replace it. Sometimes it’s easy to tell that a product needs replacing, but with running shoes, it’s not always obvious. And with some runners who put in serious mileage every week, running in worn-out shoes can lead to problems. A Hamilton resident who suffered an injury in this fashion set out to create a way to alert users when their shoes were wearing down.
The end result was the mino (www.runmino.com), a $15 device that runners can insert in their shoes to track their mileage.
“The mino was created a few years ago to meet my own need to track the wear on my shoes and keep me from getting injured from worn-out shoes,” said Aaron Burke. “Once I had set my mind to adopt a more active lifestyle, I decided to test my body and run the [Baystate] Half Marathon. Two months before the race, my left leg began to really throb during my longer runs and then I couldn’t run at all because my knee really pinched. My doctor and physical therapist both told me that my shoes were totally gone.”
Burke, an engineer, then developed the mino, which tracks the magnitude and frequency of impacts to the shoe. A series of colored lights are calibrated to light up red when you have stressed your shoe to the manufacturer’s recommended life, which has been calibrated at 400 miles.
“It took two years to develop the algorithm and circuitry but also to make it really thin so runners don’t notice it under their shoe liner,” Burke said. “Our customers lift their liner once a month and check the lights. We say, ‘If it’s red, it’s dead.’”
Since launching in January, more than 400 customers have purchased the mino, he said. New England Running Company in Beverly was the first retailer to carry the mino; now it’s available in stores in Maryland, Michigan and Florida.