Technology has always had a symbiotic relationship with movies, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible via some future tech presented in a film. Interestingly enough, one such technology has also pushed the boundaries when it comes to sneaker technology. Ever since the release of the self-lacing shoes sported by Marty McFly in Back to the Future, Nike has been attempting to replicate the technology in the real world. Back in 2016, the company launched the Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 based on the film, which had predicted its availability in the market in 2015. Nike just announced an updated version of the self-lacing silhouette in the form of the Nike Adapt BB.
The Nike Adapt BB includes a host of new features in addition to the improved lacing system, which is based on continuous tracking during movement, whether you’re simply walking or on the court pushing the limits. The silhouette is aimed at basketball players, as it tracks the intensity of their movements over the course of their sessions in order to adjust the lacing on the fly. Sensors are used to track these movements to adapt the shoelaces to fit the required comfort while still delivering maximum performance. Nike explained that due to the continued change of movement in one’s feet in sports such as basketball, the perfect fit isn’t always what is required from first putting on your shoes, making it very difficult to have the perfect feel throughout. Smart shoes, however, are aimed at addressing this:
“Over the course of a basketball game, the foot can expand almost a half-size during play. A level of fit that feels comfortable at one point might feel constrictive just 24 minutes later. Because the needs of the foot change at any given time based on the sport, its duration and on specific movements, like a slashing cut to the basket, ‘perfect fit’ is a floating target.”
The Nike Adapt BB shoes are fitted with custom-built motors and a gear train, which senses the tension in each foot and adjusts the lacing tightness to keep it snug without putting unnecessary pressure on the foot. Nike will also release the Nike Adapt app, for Android and iPhone, alongside the shoes in order for users to fine-tune their fit and switch between presets, while also being able to customize the lights, check battery levels and more. Presets can be allocated per customised colour while being able to set different setups for timeouts, gameplay and warm-ups.
The Nike Adapt BB will go on sale on 16 February 2019. The Adapt BB also sees a significant decrease in price as it will retail for $350. Nike is also expecting the technology to become available to other sports and lifestyle products, although no timelines have been set for those.