WATCH: The woman who engineered Nike’s self-lacing shoe technology

Gelo Gonzales
WATCH: The woman who engineered Nike’s self-lacing shoe technology
The HyperAdapt 1.0 is Nike's first shoe to incorporate automated shoe lacing

MANILA, Philippines – On November 28, 2016, Nike’s HyperAdapt 1.0 finally goes on sale. It’s a big date for sneaker-heads as it marks the first consumer shoe to have self-lacing capabilities – a feature once exclusive to the movies.

As shoe fans may know, the concept for the HyperAdapt did start in the movies. In Back To The Future 2, Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox) put on the Nike “Air Mag.” He slipped his feet into the then-futuristic boots, which automatically tightened. Then, the technology behind the “Air McFly” was positively prehistoric: film crew stood underneath a platform and pulled strings on cue.

Today, the McFlys’ spiritual successor, the HyperAdapt 1.0 – the star of Wired magazine’s September issue – offers a solution infinitely more elegant featuring compact motors, batteries, sensors, and other engineering feats.

Who was behind most of these? Tiffany Beers. The 36-year-old Senior Innovator at Nike was given the task of cramming the aforementioned implements without defeating the purpose of a lightweight performance shoe. Less than a year after being hired in 2004, Beers set off on the special quest given by the man behind the Jordan shoes, Tinker Hatfield, and current Nike CEO Mark Parker.

The first prototype came in 2007. But it would be nearly a decade (of tests, research, and more prototyping) before Nike deemed the technology – now called “adapting lacing” – ready for the consumer market. 

Excited? There’s one caveat: the November 28 release date isn’t a full-on wide release. You need to sign up on the Nike website to become a Nike+ member, and then schedule an appointment at select retail stores in the US starting November 28.

The price has not been announced as of posting, as well as details on a wider release.

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Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.