Nike has unveiled its first pair of consumer-focused self-lacing shoes, the Nike HyperAdapt 1.0.
Nike prefers to call their technology “self-adapting” rather than self-lacing since the shoes will have two buttons on the sides of each shoe that will allow the user to tweak how loose or tight they want their laces to be. All that the user needs to do to activate the self-adapting technology is step into the shoes. Once your heel hits the sensor at the bottom of the shoe, the system automatically starts tightening. The laces will be held in that position and allow the user to run and perform other rigorous workouts without the laces becoming undone.
Nike’s Tinker Hatfield doesn’t want the design and technology of the HyperAdapt to stop at self-adapting. While the HyperAdapt 1.0 is currently tightened and loosened manually, Nike hopes to develop a future shoe that creates a “symbiotic relationship between the foot and shoe.” Hatfield explained, “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 maneuver? That’s where we’re headed. In the future, product will come alive.”
At this time, Nike says that the shoes will operate on a battery that has to be recharged every two weeks. Although Nike hasn’t revealed much about the actual technology implemented into the shoe, they did patent an automatic lacing system in 2009 that might give us an idea about how the shoe might work from a technical standpoint:
“[The US patent] teaches an automated tightening shoe. The tightening mechanism of [US patent #6,691,433] includes a first fastener mounted on the upper, and a second fastener connected to the closure member and capable of removable engagement with the first fastener so as to retain releasably the closure member at a tightened state. [The patent teaches] a drive unit mounted in the heel portion of the sole. The drive unit includes a housing, a spool rotatably mounted in the housing, a pair of pull strings and a motor unit. Each string has a first end connected to the spool and a second end corresponding to a string hole in the second fastener. The motor unit is coupled to the spool. [The patent] teaches that the motor unit is operable so as to drive rotation of the spool in the housing to wind the pull strings on the spool for pulling the second fastener towards the first fastener. [The patent] also teaches a guide tube unit that the pull strings can extend through.”
The Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 will be available for purchase during the holiday season of 2016, but for Nike+ members only. No word on just how much these shoes will cost, but we’re going to guess they won’t be cheap.
Check out Nike’s promo video on the HyperAdapts.
Check out this video below of Jacques Slade giving a first look at Nike’s HyperAdapt shoes.
Article Written by Mila Medonaite for Design Engine, March 21, 2016