Nike announced today that they’ll be releasing a self-lacing shoe called the HyperAdapt 1.0, inspired by the fictional Nike AirMags featured in Back To the Future. Nike’s self-lacing shoe actually uses the same technology used in the commemorative Nike AirMags manufactured and sold for charity last year. The Nike HyperAdapt uses digital sensors throughout the shoe to — as the name suggests — adapt to each wearer for an unprecedented level of comfort as well as eliminating the need for tying one’s shoelaces.
“Innovation at Nike is not about dreaming of tomorrow. It’s about accelerating toward it. We’re able to anticipate the needs of athletes because we know them better than anybody. Sometimes, we deliver a reality before others have even begun to imagine it,” reads a press release from Nike designer Tinker Hatfield.
Nike’s HyperAdapt delivers on a promise the company has made in the thirty years since the self-lacing AirMag was first revealed on cinema screens throughout the world in Back To The Future. For years, Nike has teased sneaker enthusiasts with the idea of a self-lacing shoe, whether or not it’s particularly practical, it is pretty cool.
“When you step in, your heel will hit a sensor and the system will automatically tighten, then there are two buttons on the side to tighten and loosen. You can adjust it until it’s perfect,” said Tiffany Beers, a Senior Innovator at Nike.
The Nike HyperAdapt was first tested out by athlete Cristiano Ronaldo, as he teased on Instagram earlier today, and Nike fully unveiled the shoe with a detailed accounting of how it works, and what it will deliver to athletes and consumers alike, reports the Verge. Nike developed the shoe with an eye toward professional athletes, but, with the fancy technology inside the world’s first self-lacing shoe, Nike was well aware that it would be a big hit among the tech community — particularly early adopters of devices like the Nike FuelBand and the FitBit.
“Precise, consistent, personalized lockdown can now be manually adjusted on the fly, that’s an important step because feet undergo an incredible amount of stress during competition,” says Hatfield, an engineer at Nike.
Nike’s self-lacing HyperAdapt is actually the culmination of a pretty lengthy research and development process, which started with Tiffany Beers and Tinker Hatfield — both Nike engineers were obsessed with the idea of a self-lacing shoe, or “adaptive lacing” as they call it. Beers met with a group of engineers within Nike to test her theories about adaptive lacing, and after several prototypes, they came up with a few ideas that might work — the result of which is the Nike HyperAdapt.
“Through 2013, Hatfield and Beers spearhead a number of new systems, a pool of prototypes and several trials, arriving at an underfoot-lacing mechanism. In April 2015, Beers was tasked with making a self-lacing Nike Mag to celebrate the icon’s true fictional release date of October 21,” reads the Nike press release.
The full story of the Nike HyperAdapt is fascinating, and without the commemorative AirMag released by Nike — in extremely limited numbers — the Nike HyperAdapt might not have come to fruition. Because really, while the new Nike shoe is really cool, it’s still just a shoe. It might be a comfortable shoe, and with the release of the Nike HyperAdapt coming later this year, it might become a popular shoe among professional athletes, it still does what all shoes do.
“It’s amazing to consider a shoe that sense what the body needs in real-time. That eliminates a multitude of distractions, including mental attrition, and thus truly benefits performance,” reads the Nike press release.
The Nike HyperAdapt might eliminate one or two distractions, but even for professional athletes ‘mental attrition’ isn’t likely the first thing to come to mind when thinking about one’s shoelaces. Still, the Nike self-lacing shoe is pretty cool.
[Photo via Nike Inc]