Janne Ahonen’s smart ski jumping shoe
Ski jumper Janne Ahonen has won two individual World Championship titles and several more in team competitions. He has also taken two Olympic silver medals in the team event.
Ahonen’s smartwear shoes are equipped with a measuring system that gives feedback to the athlete and the coach after each jump. Sensors in the shoe collect data on movements and pressures of the foot. After each jump the data is used in analysing the speed, timing and flight trajectory of the jump.
Janne Ahonen used these shoes in the 2007–2008 season, when he won his fifth Four Hills Tournament title. Analysis of data provided by the shoes showed that Ahonen was able to repeat his performances much more consistently than any other ski jumper.
The smart ski jumping shoe was a project funded by Tekes (Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation) and developed by the Tampere University of Technology and JALAS. Also involved were the Department of Biology of Physical Activity of the University of Jyväskylä, Nokia, the Finnish Skiing Association, Suunto and VTI Technologies. In spite of the equipment the smart shoes were actually lighter to wear than standard ski jumping shoes, courtesy of special materials provided by Amroy Europe Oy.