Nike's self-tightening shoes are finally ready to hit the market, a year after the company's original intended release date.
The HyperAdapt 1.0 shoe is capable of sensing the wearer's needs. Its makers challenged digital, electrical, and mechanical engineering in order to develop footwear capable of on-the-go adjustment. The shoe can "change as the athlete changes," says Tiffany Beers the project’s technical lead.
It's important to note that the shoes are not self-tying – they come pre-laced. The shoe has two buttons on the side to tighten and loosen the laces. This generation of the HyperAdapt needs some manual adjustment before it can automatically get accustomed to the user's feet, but Nike sees a future where a "nearly symbiotic relationship between the foot and shoe" exists.
With a self-tightening shoe, athletes could fine-tune the nuances of how shoes fit. Quick, on-the-fly adjustments are made possible, and missteps from untied laces or too-tight shoes could be a thing of the past. Apart from athletic use, the self-tightening shoes also show promise for people who have difficulty adjusting their own shoes, such as those undergoing physical therapy for injuries.
Bringing these high-tech shoes out of Back to the Future II's fictional world and into footwear stores takes a hefty amount of cash—the HyperAdapt 1.0 will set you back $720 USD. The price is high, but it's a step down from the NIKE Mag, a limited-edition version of Marty McFly's shoes.
The HyperAdapt 1.0 is a testament to technology turning sci-fi into reality. Who knows what experts could bring us next?