Each summer, millions of Americans take their clothes off. They have to — it’s hot outside. But that collective disrobing often has unwanted side effects. For example, when I’m not wearing a down jacket, everybody can see what I really look like. And so, the annual quest to look better, and feel younger, is once again upon us.
As a public service (and also because I started to feel a little lumpy this year), I decided I should give you all a quick look at some gear that can either make you feel younger or help you look that way. Instant face-liftLately, I’ve taken more pictures than I ever did growing up, because digital cameras have made it easy. So, unlike any other time in my life, I have a fairly comprehensive record of my recent past. That’s nice from a history standpoint, but here’s the downside: I can pick out the exact moment when I started to look my age.
Technology to the rescue: A new Kodak printer called the ESP 5 all-in-one printer has software that automatically smoothes out the wrinkles and age lines on the faces of the people whose pictures you print out. Including your own. It's automatic, one-touch, simple — and at $169.99, it's the cheapest face-lift you'll ever get. kodak.com
Feel lighter on your feetOlympians have been getting all the best technology for years, but some of that gear is being made available to us this fall. Case in point: this never-before-seen running shoe that is among the lightest in the world. It’s from Nike, and it’s called the LunaRacer — and is directly descended from revolutionary, new Beijing Olympics technology that we'll see in August.
The idea behind this new construction is simple — if suspension bridges can hold up thousands of tons with thin, steel cables, why couldn’t a shoe hold up hundreds of pounds with thin, strong threads? And the wizards at Nike’s Innovation Kitchen have done just that, placing tiny, Vectran filaments in key areas of the shoe to provide support, without adding weight. Frankly, a few steps in these lightweight racing/training shoes feel like you're wearing nothing at all. And you saw it here first. nike.com
Fitness gearBehold, the the world’s first hybrid bicycle. In fact, the Giant Twist Freedom is first on many fronts. Unlike battery-assist bikes of the past that used clunky, inefficient and stone-heavy nickel-metal-hydride batteries, the Twist Freedom uses ultralight lithium-ion batteries, which have the same, highly efficient technology you’d find in your tiny cell phone battery. The little front-wheel-mounted engine offers power-assist pedaling and was invented by Giant, the world's largest bike maker. The harder you pedal, the more the motor on the front wheel helps. One four-hour charge of the on-board lithium-ion batteries (like the ones in your cell phone) lasts for 70 miles of riding and goes up to 20 miles per hour, with your help. $2,000; giantbicycles.com
New hobbyStudies show that taking up a new hobby can take years off your life. Informal polling (me), however, suggests that taking up skateboarding as an adult can take your whole life. As in, it could be hazardous to your health.
Enter the ideal skateboard for grown-ups — a pintail-shaped, long skateboard or “longboard” from famed snowboard maker Arbor: It's made of seven layers of hard-rock maple, covered in a gorgeous veneer of renewable-but-exotic Hawaiian Koa wood. But as with all of us as we age, it’s what’s inside that counts: Conventional skateboards have a wheelbase (the distance between wheels) of about 20 inches, making them highly maneuverable, but not very stable. The Arbor Koa Pin has an extra-long 32” wheelbase, which is almost 70 percent longer than a standard kid's skateboard, so it's incredibly smooth ... and beautiful. Riding it takes just a little practice (start on a smooth, level surface, and ALWAYS wear padding and a helmet), but with some luck, you’ll be dancing with the best of them. $169.50; arborsports.com
Stay young, and have fun.
Paul Hochman is the gear and technology editor for the TODAY Show and a Fast Company magazine contributor. He covered the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Athens and Torino, Italy, for TODAY. He was also a three-year letter winner on the Dartmouth ski team and has a black belt in karate. Paul’s blog can be found at: