Is Apple expanding beyond computers and music players into the footwear industry? Not exclusive to the late Steve Job’s iconic New Balance, Apple filed a patent for a sensor that would go in any sole and allow anyone’s “smart shoes” to alert them when they needed to replace their worn-out sneakers. The sensor, which would connect to your iOS device, would exist either as a thin layer built in to the sole or be located in the heel. The requested patent can be summarized in three main parts: a detector for sensing when the shoe wears out, a processor to measure the detector’s data, and an alarm for alerting the user when a shoe is no longer stable.

The patent states, “As a shoe wears, physical support provided by the shoe decreases, thereby reducing associated protection from injury. When a critical wear level is reached, even if the shoe looks like it is not particularly worn, the shoe may not provide adequate support and may, in fact, cause damage to feet.”

Also incorporated is a wireless interface, hinting that Apple might expand on Nike+’s activity measurements. Do you wear your sneakers enough to need one of Apple’s sensors? Not included are the Apple sneakers that were issued exclusively to company employees in the early 90′s, but would you ever rock full blown iKicks? Let us know in the comment section below.

Apple's Worn-Out Shoe Alert System

Apple’s Worn-Out Shoe Alert System

Early 90's employee-issued Apple sneakers

Early 90′s employee-issued Apple sneakers

Early 90's employee-issued Apple sneakers

Early 90′s employee-issued Apple sneakers

Early 90's employee-issued Apple sneakers

Early 90′s employee-issued Apple sneakers