NEW YORK—I just got to try on new Nikes that I never have to lace up, the futuristic sneaks Nike has been talking about for years.
Unveiled to much hoopla at a New York event Wednesday, Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 has power-operated laces. As soon as you step into a pair — as if they were slip ons —and press a “+” button, the laces tighten. The shoe even lights up.
The new shoe was unveiled by Nike CEO Mark Parker, along with a raft of other technologies. They’re expected out by the holiday season, but Nike hasn’t announced pricing yet.
Nike says the new shoe is “powered by an underfoot-lacing mechanism” — think tiny motor — and it “proposes a groundbreaking solution to individual idiosyncrasies in lacing.”
In other words, if your shoe laces frequently come untied, these have you covered.
Nike has been talking about its self-tying shoes for over two years (and actually working on this technology for ten years). Movie-goers have been anticipating them for even longer: Marty McFly, the time-warped teenager played by Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future Part II, famously had self-tying shoes.
Nike expects the shoe to come in various sizes and for multi-purposes. The size 10 shoes I got to wear briefly at the event indeed felt snug once I pushed the + button. When I was ready to pull them off, I pressed a “–” (minus) button and the fit relaxed making them easy to pull off.
The shoes are battery operated and use an inductive charge system and magnetic cup. It takes about three hours for a full charge. Nike says with average use you’ll have to charge the battery every couple of weeks. A lighting system lets you know when you’ll need to charge it.
Which raised the question, what if the battery dies when you are ready to pull them off? Nike says you can easily pull them off as a low top shoe.
At the event, Nike also unveiled a new version of the Nike + app, slated to launch in June, aimed at combining its Nike Training Club, Nike Running Club and retail apps into one, more personalized experience. Users will be able to shop, be notified of local Nike events and have access to personalized training programs and “on-demand coaching.” The app experience differs based on a user’s location, clothing and shoe sizes, and sport and lifestyle preferences, which they are prompted to enter when first setting up the app.
“Athletes want more than a dashboard,” Parker said at the event. “They want a relationship.”