Story image

Self-lacing sneakers: Good enough for Marty McFly, and now Nike

23 Mar 16

No longer relegated to futuristic films, self-lacing sneakers are making their way to the mainstream. Nike is arguably leading the way with the announcement of its HyperAdapt 1.0 technology - the company's platform for ‘breakthrough, adaptive lacing’.

Tiffany Beers, Nike senior innovator and the project’s technical lead, says, “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.”

She says the new sneakers are the result of research and developments in in digital, electrical and mechanical engineering.

Tinker Hatfield, Nike vice president design and special projects, says, “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.”

For Hatfield, the innovation solves another enduring athlete-equipment quandary: the ability to make swift micro-adjustments, such as undue pressure caused by tight tying and slippage resulting from loose laces.

Precise, consistent, personalised lockdown can now be manually adjusted on the fly. “That’s an important step, because feet undergo an incredible amount of stress during competition,” Hatfield says.

The sneakers are a collaborative effort between Beers, Hatfield and Mark Parker, Nike president and CEO.

Beers began the process by brainstorming with a group of engineers. They first came up with a snowboard boot featuring an external generator, and this proved to be the first step toward Beers and Hatfield’s original goal: to embed the technical components into such a small space that the design moves with the body and absorbs the same force the athlete is facing.

Throughout 2013, Hatfield and Beers developed new systems, prototypes and ran trials, which lead to the creation of 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. The final product quietly debuted Nike’s new adaptive technology. Shortly after, the completion of the more technical, sport version they’d originally conceived, the Nike HyperAdapt 1.0, confirmed the strength of the apparatus.

“It’s a platform, something that helps envision a world in which product changes as the athlete changes,” Beers says.

Hatfield says the potential of adaptive lacing for the athlete is ‘huge’, as it can provide tailored-to-the-moment custom fit.

“It is amazing to consider a shoe that senses what the body needs in real-time. That eliminates a multitude of distractions, including mental attrition, and thus truly benefits performance,” he says.

He says, “Wouldn’t it be great if a shoe, in the future, could sense when you needed to have it tighter or looser? Could it take you even tighter than you’d normally go if it senses you really need extra snugness in a quick manoeuvre? That’s where we’re headed. In the future, product will come alive.”

Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 is currently manual (athlete controlled), but Hatfield says it makes feasible the concept of an automated, nearly symbiotic relationship between the foot and shoe.

The Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 will be available only to members of Nike+ later this year in three colours. 

 

IDC: Smartphone shipments ready to stabilise in 2019
IDC expects year-over-year shipment growth of 2.6% in 2019, while the world's largest market is still forecast to be down 8.8% in 2018.
52mil users affected by Google+’s second data breach
Google+ APIs will be shut down within the next 90 days, and the consumer platform will be disabled in April 2019 instead of August 2019 as originally planned.
New app conducts background checks on potential tenants
Landlords and house owners need to obtain a tenant’s full name, date of birth, email address, and mobile number in order to conduct the search. And most importantly, they have to get the tenant’s permission first.
GirlBoss wins 2018 YES Emerging Alumni of the Year Award
The people have spoken – GirlBoss CEO and founder Alexia Hilbertidou has been crowned this year’s Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) Emerging Alumni of the Year.
IDC: Standalone VR headset shipments grow 428.6% in 3Q18
The VR headset market returned to growth in 3Q18 after four consecutive quarters of decline and now makes up 97% of the combined market.
Meet Rentbot, the chatbot that can help with tenancy law
If you find yourself in a tricky situation  - or if you just want to understand your rights as a landlord or tenant, you can now turn to a chatbot for help.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) finally releases on PS4
PUBG on PS4 feels like it’s still in Early Access as the graphics look horribly outdated and the game runs poorly too. 
How AI can fundamentally change the business landscape
“This is an extremely interesting if not pivotal time to discuss how AI is being deployed and leveraged, both in business and at home.”