Remember a few years ago when Nike announced that the Nike MAGs, the trainers Michael J Fox wore in Back To The Future II, were available? It felt like we were finally being served the future that Hollywood, and by association, Nike, had promised. It was a lovely moment.
First patenting their idea for self-lacing shoes way back in 2009 (despite Back To The Future II being released in 1989…) it took the sports giants until 2014 before their first versions of the shoe were released to the masses. Late yes, welcomed, absolutely!
BUT, alas, the excitement was short-lived. The initial run of the trainers and their electronically powered lace ups was a limited edition 100 pair batch that as you can imagine went quite quickly. Sure, we can all gain some solace in the knowledge that proceeds from the sales were donated to the Michael J. Fox Foundation but it doesn’t change the fact that most people could not get their mitts on self-tying shoes. And a lot of people have been waiting an incredibly long length of time for self-tying shoes.
Which was fine because, sometime later, in 2016 the Nike HyperAdapt was introduced allowing you to finally own a pair of trainers with self-lacing technology that only required a few hours of charging every single week. Like a phone. Only problem? They cos the not-insubstantial price of US$720 (£553 at today’s prices), which is mad for most people
And so we waited.
There’s much, much, much more exciting news.
Yup, finally the real, not Back To The Future-based, actual, actual real, real, ownable, wearable, purchasable, real shoes that Nike brought out a month or so later, are about to become a lot more common and at a price deemed far more reasonable.
The CEO of Nike, Mark Parker, made a call to investors last week in which he was extremely excited about the immediate future of the HyperAdapt. Not only is it about to come out at a far lower, more accessible price-point than the more-than-a-telly launch price, they’re also going to be producing them in massive quantity so that hopefully, one day soon we will live in a world where we can happily state that we completely eradicated the curse of ‘tripping-over-your-laces’.
We’re hopefully also about to see the shoes powerfully lacing some extremely famous feet: the hope is that it’ll soon be worn in-game by NBA players.
When the HyperAdapt was first introduced, there were suggestions that it could to more than just keeping laces tight, making adjustments in real-time to provide whatever an athlete needed in terms of tightness and by off-shoot, balance. It’s still a theoretical thing at the moment, but a basketball player, for instance, has times when he or she wants their shoes to be tight to the point of barely letting blood pass, and other times when a loose fit would be way preferable, and this shoe could hopefully do that, tightening and loosening as required. There are few times during a frantic game where it is acceptable, if even possible, to undo, loosen and re-tie ones shoelaces, and this could be something of a real breakthrough.
(As such technology becomes more and more of a thing, it will also be interesting to see how it gets integrated into various sports, and when and where new rules have to come in - is it allowed for a player to use a smartwatch to adjust their laces? What about if an off-court judge does it? What about a down-the-line AI system monitoring it? A few percentage points in terms of performance make a huge difference on-court, so it’ll be quite a thing for any sport to absorb.)
Whatever happens, tying your shoelaces up will soon be consigned to the dustbin of history where it belongs. The hell with aglets, right!??!?!