Amazing Laces: Nike’s Future Shoe Has No Strings Attached

A short 20 years after seeing the idea in a movie, Nike has decided to make self-lacing shoes just like the ones in Back to the Future II. In the movie, Marty McFly travels to the year 2015 and pulls on a pair of Nike trainers that lace themselves up with some hidden inner mechanism. In real life, Nike filed a patent in 2009 for a similar shoe that, while the functionality is a little different, looks a lot like the BTTF2 version. At least in the patent drawing.

The patent information says that the shoe features an automatic lacing system that’s tightened and loosened with the push of a button near the heel. There’s an additional ankle cinching system that tightens up the upper portion of the shoes as well.  There will be a small battery contained in each shoe to power the automatic tightening and loosening.

Lest you think Nike would ever release a product with no practical value, keep in mind that the benefits of a self-lacing shoe reach far beyond 80s movie nostalgia. A shoe with no laces (or even pesky hook-and-loop straps) to fiddle with would be a huge benefit to people with arthritis or other handicaps that prevent them from tying their laces. Now if someone could just go ahead and invent an IRL flux capacitor, we’d really appreciate it.

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See more in Industrial Design or under Technology. September, 2010.
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