Nike's new self-lacing basketball shoes can be adjusted with a smartphone
It's been 30 years since Marty McFly donned a pair of self-lacing Nikes in Back to the Future II, but sneaker enthusiasts are still dreaming of the day they can slip into their own. Though special edition models have offered lucky individuals a taste of this in recent years, Nike is preparing to launch a new self-lacing basketball shoe for the masses that can also accommodate prescribed tightness settings.
It was just before Christmas that Nike revealed its redesigned self-lacing shoes would arrive in 2019, following an initial run of 1,500 in 2011 and another special edition in 2015. The Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 sneakers then arrived in 2016, though they came with a hefty price tag of US$720 a pair.
The newly named Nike Adapt BB shoes are built for basketballers and incorporate the company's latest power-lacing system. When the user slips into the shoes, a motor and gear train take over and automatically adjust the tightness of the shoe until a snug fit is found.
But Nike imagines its Adapt BB basketball shoes doing more than help during the pre-game. It says that either through manual touch or a companion smartphone app, users will be able to enter different tightness settings depending on the scenario. For example, they might enjoy a looser fit in the warmup, a tighter fit in between buzzers and then a looser fit again during a timeout or break in play.
Interestingly, it says that upcoming firmware updates will allow users to pre-program certain tightness settings for scenarios like warm-ups, and that other fitting features and digital services will follow.
Nike built its Adapt BB sneakers for basketballers, as it says their feet are subjected to dramatic changes throughout a typical game, expanding as much as half a size. It even brought in Boston Celtics small forward Jayson Tatum to help them test it through workouts and pickup games.
"During a normal basketball game the athlete's foot changes and the ability to quickly change your fit by loosening your shoe to increase blood flow and then tighten again for performance is a key element that we believe will improve the athlete's experience," says Eric Avar, Nike VP Creative Director of Innovation.
The Nike Adapt BB shoes are expected to become available in the springtime of 2019 (Northern Hemisphere) and at a cost of $350.