The 1989 sci-fi cult film ‘Back to the Future II’ had predicted that the year 2015 would see hover boards, flying cars and self-tying shoes. In 2016, Nike has made at least one of these a reality.
Unveiled amidst much hoopla at a New York event this week, the Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 brings Marty McFly’s iconic self-lacing sneakers to life. The shoes feature an ‘adaptive lacing’ technology that can automatically adjust how snugly the shoe fits on the wearer. That’s right – no more kicking off your shoes without untying your laces – not when you can slip in and slip out at the touch of a button.
“When you step in, your heel will hit a sensor and the system will automatically tighten,” said Tiffany Beers, Nike’s senior innovator, in a press release. “Then there are two buttons on the side to tighten and loosen. You can adjust it until it’s perfect.”
The ease of the system allows athletes to quickly make precise ‘micro-adjustments’ to reduce pressure from tight laces, and avoid slipping when they’re too loose. “It is amazing to consider a shoe that senses what the body needs in real-time. That eliminates a multitude of distractions, including mental attrition, and thus truly benefits performance,” said Tinker Hatfield, the designer behind the innovation.
The shoes are battery operated and use an inductive charge system and magnetic cup. It takes about three hours for a full charge. According to Nike, with average use one will need to charge the battery every couple of weeks. A lighting system lets you know when the charge is low.
The sports apparel giant has reportedly been working on this technology over 10 years now. Last year, they unveiled a limited-edition prototype of the same, which was presented to the original Marty McFly, Michael J Fox in October 2015 to mark the 30th anniversary of the first movie.
The HyperAdapt 1.0 is however only going to be made available to Nike+ members during the Holiday season this year according to the company, and will come in three colors. There’s no word on a wider release for these pop culture icons.