Droplabs EP01 Smart Sneakers | Sync music to your feet

$429.99 $699.00

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A good set of headphones is key for boosting immersion in a VR game. I didn’t realize that a nice pair of shoes could amplify it even further.

Not just any shoes, mind you. I’ve been testing out a pair of Yeezy-inspired shoes with bass-rattling speakers embedded in their soles. When they’re really bumping, it feels like what I imagine it’d be like to stand on a concert PA while it pushes out sound. You can tune the intensity of the bass via an iOS or Android app, which you’ll need to use anyway to initialize the shoes. Have you ever initialized shoes?

DropLabs intends for the EP-01 to be worn in everyday life, wirelessly providing the beat to whatever music you’re listening to in your headphones. They’re certainly stylish enough to not give away that they hide speakers within them, and their tech-packed sole gives me a confidence-boosting lift off the ground. But truthfully, I think the EP-01’s true calling is for stationary gaming at home with a virtual reality headset fastened to your head.

Applied in VR, they provide an ingredient I didn’t realize had been missing. Ambient world sounds, music thumps, gun shots, and practically everything else that emits a sound in the lows and mids frequency zones will let the EP-01 push blasts of bass up your shins. They can do this for standard non-VR games that you might be playing on PC or on a console, but there’s something special about using them in virtual reality.

Setting up the EP-01 for VR or other kinds of gaming is simple enough, but far more clumsy and restrictive than if you’re just on a walkabout listening to music via Bluetooth. In addition to buying the shoes, you’ll need DropLabs’ proprietary $25 low-latency gaming cable, which lets you connect a set of wired headphones and the EP-01 to an audio source, like a computer, console controller, or really any device that has a 3.5mm jack. These shoes have magnetic charging ports on their rears, which is what the low-latency cable snaps onto (DropLabs includes a wall charger with each shoe purchase that connects to them in the same manner).