Nike’s newest shoe brings movie magic into reality by promising no one will ever have to wrestle with shoelaces ever again, although those with spinal cord injuries may need to exercise caution before slipping them on. The shoe is called the HyperAdapt 1.0 and it’s Nike’s first ever self-tying shoe, just like the self-tying Nike Mag in 1988’s Back to the Future II.
“Motorized laces are totally not a gimmick,” said Tinker Hatfield to De Zeen Magazine. He’s Nike’s vice-president of design and special projects. “Sensors are becoming smarter. The materials are changing rapidly. The motors and the materials are working together better. You’ll start to see adaptive ideas popping up in sports apparel and, I suspect, outside sport as well.”
The HyperAdapt 1.0 features a sensor known as a “Lace Engine” and when the wearer puts the shoe on, the engine will sense the wearer’s foot. Then flywire that envelops both sides of the shoe will collapse and tighten. Meanwhile, a plus and minus button are on the side of the shoe so the wearer can adjust it to their comfort throughout the day. The motors in the shoes are charged through a magnetic dock and wearers get two weeks of functionality on a three-hour charge indicated by the lights on the side.
Marco Pasqua, a public speaker and Back to the Future super fan who appeared in the recent tribute documentary Back in Time. has been anticipating these shoes for years.
“I’ve been waiting for something like the HyperAdapt shoes for over 20 years. As a person with cerebral palsy, I have dexterity issues in my right hand. The HyperAdapt means I don’t have to fuss with laces and can feel confident while looking McFly.”
But those who do not have sensation in their feet need to be very careful. Even though the Lace Engine automatically stops once it feels your feet, it could still leave you susceptible to pressure sores and other injuries related to a lack of blood circulation.
“Consider the ‘standard’ setting is for walking, running, etc., where feet are flexing, and foot muscles are pumping blood — a paralyzed foot, not-so-much,” says Bob Vogel New Mobility’s community editor and the author of its Para/Medic column.
“If I was going to try them, I would put them on, tighten them, then hit “loosen” just a bit — then wear the shoes for 15 minutes and take them off and do a complete-foot mirror-skin-check. Then do the same after half an hour, one hour, etc., until I was confident I wasn’t creating pressure areas. It would be a bummer to spend three months seeing a wound care specialist and have permanently compromised skin to save one and a half minutes lacing up shoes.”
The HyperAdapt 1.0 will be available in the U.S. at select Nike retail locations. Appointments to experience and purchase the product begin November 28. Details on how to make an appointment will be announced by Nike in the coming weeks. The price has not been disclosed.