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The Rise of Self-Lacing Sneakers


Like their name says, self-lacing sneakers are sneakers that lace up on their own without the user's intervention once said individual inserts their foot into the shoe. In part, there is enormous interest in such shoes because of their unrivaled convenience, which makes them popular with people who want to save as much time and effort as possible. However, it should also be noted that such shoes have the potential to help people struggling with mobility issues, which are much more common than most people expect.

Given the interest in such shoes as well as the new technologies that have made them more than something out of science fiction, it should come as no surprise to learn that self-lacing sneakers are about to make their debut on the consumer market, though whether they will prove to be success or not is something that remains to be seen.

What Is the Nike HyperAdapt 1.0?

Regardless, it seems that Nike will be the first shoe manufacturer to introduce self-lacing sneakers to the consumer market with what it is calling its Nike HyperAdapt 1.0. In brief, the sneaker comes with a sensor built into its heel, which enables it to tell when someone has inserted their foot into it. When that happens, the Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 begins tightening on its own, though it is important to note that it comes with a pair of buttons on its side that enables the wearer to either tighten or loosen the laces as needed. In this manner, the sneaker ensures an excellent fit under a wide range of conditions while still providing its wearer with a valuable measure of control over the entire process.

The mechanism that enable the automatic tightening remain unknown, but considering a recent patent filed by Nike, it seems probable that it consists of a motor connected to a spool. Likewise, a lot of other factors remain unknown about the Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 in spite of the fact that it is set for release on November 28 of 2016, when it will be made available at select stores throughout the United States. As a result, while it sounds promising, interested individuals might want to wait until more reviews come in before they make an informed decision about whether they want to buy a pair or not.

It is interesting to note that the Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 is not the first self-lacing sneaker created by the shoe manufacturer. Instead, that honor went to the Nike Mags in 2015, which bore a rather remarkable resemblance to a rather famous pair of shoes from Back to the Future, which did a great deal to popularize the concept of the self-lacing sneakers among consumers. As a result, a fully-functional pair of Nike Mags went to Michael J. Fox, who was the actor who played Marty McFly in Back to the Future.

However, the shoes were never made available to consumers, though rumors about a potential release in 2016 were floated around at the time. Regardless, it is clear that Nike learned a great deal by using the Nike Mags to test its techniques and technologies, which should enable it to continue making progress towards better and better self-lacing systems. Something to look forward to for people who want a pair of Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 but suspect that the final price tag will prove to be too much for their wallets to bear.


Who Are Some of the Other Companies Interested in Self-Lacing Sneakers?

Of course, Nike is not the sole shoe manufacturer interested in the potential of self-lacing sneakers. For example, Puma came up with something called the AUTODISC system, which enables a shoe to tighten on its own with the push of a single button. However, since it was no more than a prototype, it remains to be seen when Puma will launch its own self-lacing sneaker on the consumer market, which is bound to have significant differences from what it used to show off its new techniques and technologies.

After all, while a micro USB charger might be suitable for use in charging a prototype, it is much too inconvenient for the finished product, which is why Puma has announced its intentions to change the commercial version so that it uses a charging plate instead. It seems probable that this as well as other factors are responsible for the fact that there has been little news about a commercial self-lacing sneaker from Puma in spite of the fact that its launch was expected for sometime in 2016.

Furthermore, it is interesting to note that there are businesses besides shoe manufacturers interested in the potential of self-lacing sneakers, as shown by the example of Powerlace.  A woman named Blake Bevin came up with a crude system for self-lacing shoes in 2010, which was submitted to a contest on a DIY website called Instructables. While the system was next-to-non-functional, it nonetheless managed to garner a great deal of attention, which convinced

Bevin to take it a step further by raising funds on Kickstarter to turn her system into a real commercial product. So far, beta versions of her Power Laces are available at a cost of $250 per unit, which are being shipped out in small custom batches so that they can be beta-tested in order to collect the information needed to come up with a more refined but also less expensive version in the future. In the meantime, people with either the right skills or just some spare time on their hands should check out Bevin's instructions for her initial system, which can still be found on the Internet with minimal searching.


Final Thoughts

Summed up, it is clear that there is enormous interest in self-lacing sneakers, which has resulted in their launch as commercial products, even if they seem like they are in their earliest stage. However, as self-lacing sneakers continue seeing use, it seems probable that they will become better and better at their intended function, particularly if they meet with sufficient success to convince other shoe manufacturers as well as other relevant businesses to make an entrance as well.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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