The Feet Of The Future

AI predicts what our feet and footwearwill look like in 100 years

Dynamic Stabilisers Shoe AI generated feet

How does having extra long toes sound if it meant you could run faster? Or perhaps colour changing trainers to match your outfit? Well, according to expert predictions, these are just some of the extraordinary changes we may see over the next century.

Sports Direct has worked with applied futurist, Tom Cheesewright, to predict the incredible trainers that future humans will be walking in, as well as the mind-blowing ways that our feet could change over the next 100 years.

Rather than simply picking between the latest trendy Nike shoes or adidas trainers, future shoppers could be choosing between self cleaning shoes - or even high-tech trainers that protect you from the embarrassment of falling over!

To make the predictions for how our feet and footwear will evolve, Tom first imagined how our lives will change and how this will influence the adaptations to our feet. Then he predicted what technology could be applied to our trainers to support these changes.

To show what these weird and wonderful changes might look like, we've used AI to visualise the feet of the future and the trainers of tomorrow, with some astonishing and thought provoking results...

So, what will the feet of the future look like?

AI image of foot AI image of foot 2 AI image of foot 3

Adaption 1:

The Soft Sole

  • Spending less time in bare feet means that the tough skin protecting the soles of our feet will likely thin and become more sensitive.
  • We might be spending more time airborne, or even in space, meaning that we'll have less pressure on our feet.
  • Moving in zero gravity will require more dexterity. Something which our new highly sensitive feet will be able to help with.

Adaption 2:

Longer Toes

  • Our big toe helps with running, and has evolved as we spent less time in trees. With running becoming much more common, the rest of our toes could change in the same way.
  • A foot full of long, thin toes might look creepy at first, but it will give future generations a performance boost when it comes to running and physical activity.

Adaption 3:

Little Feet (for smaller people)

  • Humans might get smaller due to changes in our environment and our diet, and this change will also have an impact on our feet.
  • Smaller people don't need big feet. If we get smaller, we'll likely see the average shoe size reduce by two or three sizes in line with the rest of our bodies.

Adaption 4:


  • No one likes the thought of sweaty feet - but in the future the ability to sweat more might be a lifesaver!
  • If global temperatures continue to increase, our feet will need to evolve to deal with the extra heat and keep us cool.
  • Our footwear will need to change to accommodate this, with white trainers becoming common to repel heat, and super fast moisture wicking technology helping to reduce moisture from the extra sweat.

With our feet becoming sweatier, smaller and more sensitive, and our toes becoming longer, what might our future trainers look like?

Future Footwear 1:

The Shoes That Go with Everything

The Shoes That Go with Everything
  • Electrochromic materials can change their colour with the application of a small voltage. In the future, thin layers of these materials will offer an endless variety of shades for the accent pieces on your shoes, such as the iconic swoosh on your Nike shoes.
  • You could even control the colours from your smartphone, changing the colour manually or taking a photo of a sample colour and letting your phone colour match.

Future Footwear 2:

Dynamic Stabilisers

Dynamic Stabilisers
  • Can you imagine a pair of shoes that could stop you from tripping over? Future technology could prevent embarrassing losses of balance by adjusting the sole shape to provide extra support where needed at a moments notice.
  • Pressure sensors in the soles of shoes would detect abnormal shifts in weight, automatically feeding signals back to onboard microcontrollers.
  • Instant support would be provided by curving a series of stiff sole inserts to push the wearer into a stable position.

Future Footwear 3:

The Dirt Purge

The Dirt Purge
  • No-one likes getting their brand new PUMA trainers dirty. But, keeping them clean can feel time-consuming. Imagine shoes that took the hassle out of your hands by cleaning themselves!
  • Shoes would have three layers: an inner lining that wicked moisture away from the feet, a middle layer that carried water through tiny tubes, and an outer layer made from a fabric woven from superhydrophobic threads to stop your shoes from actually becoming wet.
  • To clean the shoes you would just press part of the sole to a tap, forcing water through the middle layer and out through the outer fabric, carrying away any dirt.

Future Footwear 4:

Mixed Reality Wear

Mixed Reality Wear
  • Close your eyes and imagine this - the virtual reality game you're playing in your garden is set on the surface of a distant planet. The shoes you're wearing make you feel like you're fighting aliens on the surface of a different planet. Mind blowing, right?
  • Electro-active materials in the inner sole change shape in response to signals from your VR glasses. This creates texture under the feet that matches what the player is seeing and hearing, giving an even more immersive experience!

Tom's Conclusion

“Human beings adapt surprisingly fast to changes in our environment. We use our brains to build answers to the problems that we face. But we also adapt unconsciously, through changes to our genome such as evolution over the long term, and epigenetics, rapid adaptations to our environment.

“How might we work out what sort of changes we will see? There are many different approaches to looking at the future. We can imagine different scenarios - stories - about how the world may be different. Or we can look at current trends and pressures, and see where they might take us.

“Over the last 100,000 years we have seen changes to the size of our bodies and brains, the shape of our faces, the way we process food, and much, much more. So it's not absurd to think that in the future we may see more changes to our bodies - including to our feet, and as a result, our footwear.”

Credits & Sources

  • Expert predictions and analysis via Tom Cheesewright
  • Images created using MidJourney