The Stuff of Athens

New tech-powered gear brings out the Olympic athlete in all of us.

Didn’t qualify for the games this time around? Not to worry. Sporting-goods companies are bringing on a wealth of technology-powered products to help you perform like an Olympian — or just look like one.


[1] Find your inner shark | Speedo teamed with shark researchers, Hollywood special-effects experts, and Formula One software providers to produce the Fastskin FSII, a swimsuit it says cuts drag by up to 4%. It has different fabrics, alternatively smooth and scalelike, for different parts of the body, inspired by the textures of a shark’s skin.

The result: a suit that feels like Lycra on steroids, thick and surprisingly warm — and one that, sadly, won’t exactly flatter those not blessed with swimmers’ physiques. ($350 at

[2] This coach won’t make you do push-ups | The MP3 Run from Nike and Philips puts a virtual coach and a music player in one box. A small sensor attached to your shoes uses wireless technology to record your running speed, distance, and pace — stats that can be downloaded to your computer to track performance.

Your wearable coach provides voice updates of your performance as you run. Feel free to ignore it and switch back to “Chariots of Fire.” ($349 at

[3] All the cool kids are wearing one To outwit the Athens heat, Nike has developed a wearable ice pack it says slows the rise of body temperature by 19%.

The Precool vest contains 22 ice packs that conform to the torso. It’s intended for use up to 60 minutes before a competition. Still in the early stages of development, it is being tested by the Australian field hockey team.


[4] and [5] Go the distance | Intended to replicate the experience of running barefoot, the AdiStar Competition is incredibly light: One shoe weighs just 7 ounces, or less than six slices of bread. (Caution: It’s also about as watertight as six slices of bread. And there’s not much by way of support or cushioning.)

Adidas says the AdiStar draws on thermoregulation expertise, climate simulations, and the first ever map of the foot’s temperature and sweat zones.

To complete the gold-medal experience — no actual running required — you can parade around in your very own Olympic Podium tracksuit, resplendent in red, white, and blue. National anthem not included. (AdiStar Competition, $100; Podium jacket, $80; and pants, $55; at