Coolest thing since Mags? Nike HyperAdapt 1.0
Nike are slowly dragging us into the vision of the future that we so desperately wanted since the 1980s when Marty McFly put on his pair of Air Mags in that cinematic masterpiece that was Back To The Future II. We’ve had plain old Air Mags with lights and not much else in recent years, albeit released for charity. We’ve had a demonstration of what Mags with power laces would look like when Michael J Fox trialled them a while back. Now, we have the first look at the commercial release of power laces with the Nike HyperAdapt 1.0.
The Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 is the headline grabber on a day when Nike went balls to the wall when it comes to unveiling the future of technology in their shoes. There were updates about and to their flyknit, the unveiling of what their Air Max models will look like (fugly is the word), some fancy bits about keeping the soles of soccer boots clean and some other stuff nobody remembers now because Nike showed off their HyperAdapt 1.0 and a short while later, Christiano Ronaldo uploaded a video of him putting them on.
“When you step in, your heel will hit a sensor and the system will automatically tighten. Then there are two buttons on the side to tighten and loosen. You can adjust it until it’s perfect,” said Tiffany Beers, one of the brains behind their development and implementation.
These aren’t just self-tying laces though – that would be far too simple. As we understand it, far more brain power has been put into the auto-lacing system so that it, in effect, produces an entirely customised, tight fit for the wearer. There are a set of sensors in the sole that measure the weight and position of the foot, essentially gaining an understanding of how the wearer typically needs support. Then, through a series of battery powered pulleys, the throat of the shoe is pulled together and tightened. These pulleys wind up a set of wires within the shoe, spooling inside somehow. This can be adjusted for comfort or purpose by the two buttons you can see on the upper just behind where the last set of eyelets would typically go.
That’s right, you did read “battery powered”. The system will be powered by an inbuilt, rechargeable battery, that is said to last for up to two weeks. When you hear something like that though ‘up to’, best practise is to revise it down, so we would realistically expect the shoes to last a proper week on a charge. There is also that big blue light on the bottom – that’s right, lights aren’t just for kids! That will certainly add to battery drain.
The Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 is only the first iteration and implementation of this novel new technology. I am sure we can imagine that future models will probably look better and function better. What next? Well, hopefully there will be customised settings that might affect heel lock or ankle supports. Perhaps an automated setting that can change fit based on sports profiles. Maybe even a connection to your Nike+ app to alter settings.
That was one other thing Nike reminded everyone of, as the Nike+ app is your first and maybe only shot at getting your hands on a pair. They will be made available to Nike+ members later in the year, and expected to drop around the end of the year in 3 different colourways.