Augustman - - Contents -

Com­bin­ing Fendi’s tra­di­tional craft with high-tech gloss

Re­mem­ber the scene in Back to the Fu­ture Part II when Marty McFly put on self-lac­ing high-top sneak­ers? Well, that has be­come a com­mer­cial re­al­ity, and in a man­ner that’s more tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced. The Nike Hyper­Adapt 1.0 shoes (be­low) are equipped with some­thing the com­pany calls adap­tive lac­ing. “When you step in, your heel will hit a sen­sor and the sys­tem will au­to­mat­i­cally tighten. Then there are two but­tons at the side that al­low you ad­just the fit till it’s per­fect,” said Tif­fany Beers, Nike’s se­nior in­no­va­tor.

This also means your laces will never come un­done dur­ing a piv­otal mo­ment of the game, which was the main con­cern of Beers and mem­bers of the Nike team work­ing on this project. Work on the shoe started in 2013 and the ini­tial prototype was a snow­board boot fea­tur­ing an ex­ter­nal gen­er­a­tor. The team, how­ever, recog­nised it was not ideal and con­tin­ued work­ing to em­bed the tech­ni­cal com­po­nents into an even smaller space.

Beers and his team re­leased a real-life Nike Mag, the pair

McFly wore in the movie, in Oc­to­ber last year to show­case what it had achieved. Un­be­knownst to many peo­ple, that was just the beginning.

“In­no­va­tion at Nike is not about dream­ing of to­mor­row. It’s about ac­cel­er­at­ing to­wards it,” said Tin­ker Hat­field, a Nike de­signer. “Some­times we de­liver a re­al­ity be­fore oth­ers have even be­gun to imag­ine it.”

Adap­tive lac­ing is not just a gim­mick. Beers said it is the first step in cre­at­ing a shoe that will have an au­to­mated, al­most sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ship with the wearer.

“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? That’s where we’re headed,” Beers said. And if you’re won­der­ing how to get your hands on a pair, you need to be a mem­ber of the new Nike+ club, which is launch­ing in June 2016.

Al­go­rith­mic Tip­ple: Some de­sign­ers have cre­ated the barfly bot So­cial Shot ca­pa­ble of fix­ing your cock­tail based on what you liked on Face­book.

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