Nike has dipped its toes into the waters of self-lacing shoes in the past, with limited runs of Back to the Future-inspired sneakers for charity in 2011 and 2015. But the sportswear giant is now diving right in, today unveiling its first consumer-focused Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 trainers for those who have grown tired of double knots and bunny ears.
The Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 features a sensor inside that detects a heel sliding in, causing the shoe to automatically tighten around the foot. Two buttons on the side then allow the wearer to manually tighten and loosen the shoe until they have themselves a snug fit.
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,500 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
According to Nike, this ability to change tension on the fly solves what is apparently a "typical" problem for athletes: distraction. It does so by allowing precise adjustments to eliminate tight tying and the slippage that results from loose laces. It also imagines a future where a sports shoe can sense the moment you need a tighter fit for a quick mid-game maneuver and adjusts itself accordingly.
Such footwear might be a ways off yet, but that Nike has managed to squeeze a version of its adaptive lacing, seen in its functional, real-life versions Mag high-top sneakers last year, into what look to be pretty normal trainers is impressive.
There's no word yet on pricing, and distracted athletes will need to be have a Nike+ membership to make the purchase. The HyperAdapt 1.0 will be available in three colors at the beginning of the 2016 holiday season.
You can check out the shoes in the short promo video below.