Zappos, MapMyFitness to tell runners when they need new shoes

Zappos (NASDAQ:AMZN) has teamed up with popular fitness app MapMyFitness to help workout enthusiasts track the wear on their shoes, and maybe sell a few more in the process.

The Amazon-owned e-commerce shoe store is powering the new Gear Tracker feature within the app, which gives avid runners a rough estimate of what state their shoes are in. Most athletic shoes have a lifespan of about 300 to 500 miles, so using the app's built in tracking allows Zappos to provide users with a gauge estimating how many more miles are left on their shoes before they need to buy a new ones. As it turns out, that was a feature many MapMyFitness users had been clamoring for.

"We have a lot of users that log all of their runs, but there's also a lot of people that only log on the weekend, or only track runs when they are training for a certain event, or more casually," Chris Glode, general manager of MapMyFitness, told CNET. "This gives them an opportunity to be more diligent about tracking."

The updside is just as great for Zappos. Users log the shoes they currently own and when it's time for a replacements, a convenient link takes them straight to the Zappos website, where they can buy the same pair or try something new. The majority of workouts logged on MapMyFitness are runs, and Zappos offers more than 8,000 styles of running shoes, meaning there is plenty of sales potential for the e-retailer.

Zappos is also able to piggyback off the gamification aspect that has drawn almost 28 million users to the app. Runners can retire their old shoes to create a 'virtual trophy room,' providing even more incentive to not only push their run that bit further, but also burn through shoes that much quicker.

It's a model that could become more prevalent among retailers' mobile strategies if they can find a symbiotic way to work with existing popular apps. According to Aki Iida, Zappos' head of mobile, the retailer had been considering wear-tracking technology for a while, but the MapMyFitness deal allowed the company to capitalize on the rapidly growing fitness app category without having to develop technology of its own.

For now, shoes are the only equipment being monitored in the Gear Tracker, but Glode sees expansion to other items in the future. Under Armour bought MapMyFitness last year, so adding apparel is already in the cards, but he hopes the feature can be applied to other sports like cycling where wear and tear is a prominent issue.

For more:
-See this MapMyFitness press release
-See this CNET story

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