Nike drops the price for its first self-lacing basketball shoes
They started as special edition sneakers modeled on Marty McFly's high-tops from Back to the Future II in 2011, but thread-by-thread Nike's self-lacing sneakers are edging closer to something the average Joe could own. The company has shared some details on a new design of its HyperAdapt shoes for 2019, which have been given a fresh look and a much friendlier price tag.
Numerous iterations of Nike's self-lacing sneakers have emerged over the years. After an initial run of 1,500 Mag sneakers were auctioned off for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, Nike went on to introduce the first pair featuring its so-called "power laces" in 2015.
This refers to a responsive system claimed to react to the wearer's motion and dynamically adjusts the tightness on the fly. This technology then found its way into the Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 sneakers in 2016, which are regular enough sneakers that retailed for a non-regular price of US$720.
The brand new HyperAdapt sneakers aren't the product of a dramatic redesign, though the lacing mechanism now goes by the name of E.A.R.L., or Electric Adaptable Reaction Lacing. Like the earlier versions, this technology is said to electronically adjust the shoe's fit, tweaking the lacing to fit the contours of the foot on the fly.
EA.R.L. is activated automatically as soon as the wearer slides their foot into the sneaker, with a sensor built into the shoe responding to the presence of a heel and setting off a string of lights built into the back of the shoe. These blue lights will continue flashing as long E.A.R.L. searches for the perfect fit.
While the early examples of Nike's self-lacing sneakers were conceived with collectors and enthusiasts in mind, the newest version appear to be aimed a little closer toward the mass market. CEO Mark Parker said in a quarterly earnings call that the shoe will be launched as a "new adaptive performance platform in basketball at the $350 pricepoint," with the shoe to arrive sometime in (Northern Hempisphere) Spring 2019, according to Sole Collector.
Granted, that's still a few tiers above what many would be willing to pay for a pair of sneakers, but might just be close enough to lure in the odd basketballer looking to lift their game.