Nike will sell Back to the Future-style self-lacing sneakers later this yearBy Rob Thubron
1989's Back to the Future 2 showed a future containing some pretty amazing technology. Some of these things, such as VR, wearables, video calls, and - to an extent - hoverboards, have become a reality. Now, it seems something else that was first used on-screen by Marty McFly will soon hit the market: self-lacing sneakers.
The HyperAdapt 1.0 sneakers were unveiled by Nike, along with a slew of other innovative designs, at a New York media event yesterday. This isn't the company's first attempt at the technology; Nike has previously made real-life versions of the Air Mags seen the movie, and announced plans to sell them in limited quantities and even gave a pair to Michael J. Fox.
These new sneakers have been designed by Tinker Hatfield and senior innovator Tiffany Beers, who also worked on the Air Mags. When a user steps inside them, sensors detect their foot position and a series of battery-powered pulleys will contract the laces, tightening the sneakers.
The wearer will be able to manually adjust the tightness of the sneakers using buttons on the side, which are also used to unfasten the laces completely. After a few wears, the HyperAdapt 1.0s will be able to tell a person's preferred settings, and automatically choose that level when the sneakers are worn. Nike aims to make future versions that automatically adjust on the fly, based on biometric data.
"Wouldn't it be great if a shoe, in the future, could sense when you needed to have it tighter or looser?" asked Hatfield . "Could it take you even tighter than you'd normally go if it senses you really need extra snugness in a quick maneuver? That's where we're headed. In the future, product will come alive."
Being battery powered, the shoes will need charging about every two weeks. They'll be available this holiday season in three colors, but you'll only be able to buy them if you're a member of Nike+, the company's fitness portal. Prices have yet to be revealed.
In addition to the HyperAdapt 1.0 sneakers, Nike revealed its 'anti-clog traction' technology at the event, which is said to prevent mud from sticking to soccer cleats. It also showed off its redesigned Nike Plus application that will link to other fitness apps and offer personalized services tailored to the user.
"We've entered a new era of personalized performance," said Mark Parker, Nike's president and CEO. "Today, athletes want more than just a dash board. They want a relationship."