November 11, 2016
They say that art predicts the future, but this is eerie. Some of the predictions of the future from the movie Back to the Future Part II have turned out to be surprisingly accurate. In the film, time-hopping teenager, Marty McFly, travels to the year 2015 to prevent his son from making a huge life mistake. While some of director, Robert Zemeckis’, visions of the future did not play out as he might have expected, like theaters advertising Jaws 19 or true flying hover boards, others were much closer to the mark. For example, Marty looks up at a billboard advertising the Cubs victory in the MLB World Series. With 108 years of Cubs losses, making a prediction only a year off is an amazing coincidence.
There is another scene in the film wherein Marty, played by Michael J. Fox, puts on Nike shoes with “power laces.” By pushing a small button, Marty’s high-top sneakers lace, tie, and tighten themselves around his foot. Nike announced recently that they have not only developed the technology to make that a reality, but the shoes will be released at the end of November. They’re called the Nike HyperAdapt 1.0, and they’re the latest incarnation of wearable tech.
The Nike HyperAdapt 1.0
The low-top sneaker looks much like any other with a few notable exceptions. Between the ball and heel of the foot is a sizable LED light which glows while the shoe is activated. In addition, there are no laces per se to tie. There are still bands that stretch across the top of the foot which can be tightened to improve the fit, but this process is no longer done manually.
By pressing a small (+) button on the side of the shoe, the laces will automatically tighten to create the perfect fit for anyone’s foot. Pressing the adjacent (–) button relaxes the laces and makes the shoe easier to remove.
The Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 accomplishes this trick through an “Underfoot-lacing mechanism” according to Nike CEO Mark Parker. Unfortunately, that does mean that the shoes will need to be charged every so often.
Back to the Future Replica Shoe Raffle
To promote the new shoe design and celebrate the Back to the Future Part II film, Nike used the technology in the HyperAdapt 1.0 to create self-lacing replicas of the shoes McFly wore in the film. Unlike the low-rise HyperAdapt, these replicas are gray high-tops with a Velcro band that wraps across the lower shin. 89 lucky raffle winners won the shoes by submitting a $10 donation to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
The Future…of Shoes?
It’s tough to say whether or not this might be the future of footwear. It seems cumbersome to force wearers to charge their shoes when there’s already so many devices taking up valuable outlet slots. Who knows? In another 20 years, this may be the new standard and everyone will look back on the dark age of laces and wonder how we ever survived.
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