If you haven’t heard, yesterday, October 21, 2015, was Back To The Future Day. That’s the date Marty McFly heads to the future in the second installment of the classic film franchise.
The milestone was marked with a special screening of the movie, plenty of specials on TV, and even more ruminations about the technology featured and how it stands up to real-life innovations that make up everyday life in the real 2015.
Plenty of people were bummed that we don’t fly on hoverboards or wear self-lacing Nikes, but a shoe designer is making that second one a reality, Wired reported. On the eve of Back to the Future Day, Nike posted a tantalizing tweet that hinted they were up to something on October 21.
.@realmikefox see you tomorrow.
— Nike (@Nike) October 21, 2015
Wednesday, Michael J. Fox — Marty McFly himself — tweeted a letter he received from Nike shoe designer Tinker Hatfield (in a cool side note, he designed the movie’s original shoe), in which he said Fox was the perfect person to receive the first-ever Nike Air Mag.
— Michael J. Fox (@realmikefox) October 21, 2015
“Almost thirty years ago we embarked on a journey to create a glimpse into “the future.” Although the project started as science fiction, we’re now proud to turn that fiction into fact …As you well know innovation never stops at Nike so we’re excited about what lies ahead for this idea. We know if you put your mind to it you can accomplish anything. P.S [sic] If my calculations are correct…your pair should be with you shortly.”
Not long after Michael tweeted the touching letter, he posted a video of himself actually trying on the shoes, to cries of “that’s insane!” and complete and utter wonderment.
Remarkably, the Nike Air Mag really does lace up with just the touch of a button. To lace them up, Fox had to push down on the heel, which starts the tightening, then press a green button to finish it. A red button then releases the laces so the wearer can take them off. A yellow button turns on some lights in the shoes, Forbes reported.
Nike explained that the Air Mag “advances what was coined the Nike Mag’s ‘power laces,’ combining the archetype invention with digital technology. The result is an individually responsive system that senses the wearer’s motion to provide adaptive on-demand comfort and support.”
The futuristic sneakers have been in the works for years. Nike filed a patent request for the self-lacing mechanism in 2010; it was approved in 2014. A prototype was released in 2011 and 1,510 were given to athletes and “influencers.” The proceeds went to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which funds research into Parkinson’s Disease.
Nike Air Mags pic.twitter.com/Ufvx0oN0mH
— Sneaker Pics (@SneakerPics23) October 21, 2015
Then, in February 2014, Tinker announced that the fictional shoes would be arriving in the real world in 2015. He reconfirmed that date in February, leaving Back to the Future fans to wait with bated breath for their release.
“We started creating something for fiction and we turned it into fact, inventing a new technology that will benefit all athletes,” said Nike president and CEO Mark Parker. “By imagining the future, we create it.”
Michael J. Fox then brought the pair along with him for an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel — on his feet. They looked just as cool in real life as they did in the movie — silvery 80s-style high-tops, highlighted in fluorescent blue lights. He demonstrated how they work, letting the laces tie up with the press of a button and a squeal of invisible gears to the delighted applause of the audience.
For now, Nike Air Mag shoes are only owned by one person — Fox. But in the spring, they’ll be available in a limited run and available for purchase by auction. All proceeds are going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation again.
Hatfield wrote that he hoped the sale would raise more than $9.4 million.
[Photo via YouTube Screengrab]