Need to get a grip or gain a little traction? Maybe your shoes can help. Select Sole, a Vancouver-based startup, is developing a sole that electronically sprouts, and retracts, various kinds of spikes with the push of a button. Don’t want to change out of your golfing cleats when you step into the clubhouse for lunch? No problem. Just push the battery-powered button and the metal spikes retract. The company also is designing soles with specific traction for athletic, outdoor, military and industrial shoes. Shoemakers are desperate for new technology, says president and CEO Tim Hawkins. In the past year the company has built three prototypes, raised about a million dollars and is talking with manufacturers interested in licensing the technology. Hawkins expects Select Sole shoes will be in stores by fall 2009. The biggest challenge so far: selling the idea of electronics inside shoes. “Getting a shoe brand to eat this elephant needs to be done in a couple of bites,” Hawkins says. JASON SHUFFLER
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