Auto-lacing sneakers, or power laces if you prefer.. The kind of wearable technology that’s been dozing in the minds of every Back to the Future buff for the last 27 years.
I’ve been looking forward to writing this feature because wearables such as power laces simply float my boat, especially in a time when most of my days are spent writing about friggin heart rate monitors and biometrics… Yawn.
The Best Auto-Lacing Sneakers
Surely it would be rude not to start with the original and world’s most famous power-lacing sneakers. The Nike Mag need no introduction, but just in case you’ve been living on Venus or were born post 2002, they appeared in a really popular time travel movie in the 80s.
On October 21st 2015 a pair of fully functioning Nike Mag were shipped to MJ. Fox to mark the anniversary of the fictional date when they appeared in the 1989 movie. The same day, MJ. Fox made an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live to show off the auto-lacing sneakers; demonstrating how they loosen and tighten simply by holding buttons on the side.
If you’re in the market to buy a pair of Nike Mag, you’re gonna find it difficult, though not impossible, as only 89 pairs have been made – the 89 representing 1989 in the movie. U.S and Canada-based users of the Nike+ app got the opportunity to pay $10 per ticket to enter a draw to win the Mag sneakers. The proceeds from the tickets were donated to the The Michael J. Fox Foundation.
The lucky winners were notified on October 17th 2016. A few pairs were also up for grabs in London and Hong Kong. One more auction happening in New York at The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s Benefit gala will see another pair of Mags won on November 12th 2016.
I imagine it won’t be too easy getting any of the lucky and proud winners to part with their Nike Mags. However, if the price is right..
Nike HyperAdapt 1.0
Nike Mag, which started out a movie prop, have paved the way for the real-life future of footwear and Nike’s adaptive lacing technology. Some Hyperadapt 1.0 sneakers are sporting the word EARL which stands for Electro Adaptive Reactive Lacing, as coined by Nike’s Tinker Hatfield.
The exceptionally cool Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 are more than just auto-lacing novelties. Nike’s adaptive lacing platform will lead to a “solution to individual idiosyncrasies in lacing and tension preference.”
The Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 will almost definitely be followed by even smarter sneakers with the capability to gather data and automatically tighten and loosen when required.
Stepping into Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 triggers the mechanism to tighten automatically thanks to a sensor in the heel. You can also tighten and loosen the fit by way of two buttons on the side of the sneakers.
The release of the first-generation of Nike’s HyperAdapt 1.0 will be exclusive to select Nike stores in the U.S by appointment only. The appointments open on November 28th 2016. What the weight of the price tag will be is anybody’s guess right now.
Digitsole Smartshoe 001
These auto-lacing creps haven’t appeared in any movies, but if you were filming on the planet Coruscant you might spot someone or something wearing them.
The Digitsole Smartshoe 001 in their prototype form were on show at CES back in January. As well as looking like something from “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” these futuristic kicks have a feature set to match.
Underneath the tongue there is an auto-tightening mechanism that can be controlled either from your smartphone or via voice command. Along with auto-tightening, the Smartshoe 001 has a light built into the toe.
They also warm your feet up with Digitosle’s Warm Series insoles with a built-in thermostat and temperature control from the smartphone app.
There’s more. These extremely smart sneakers also have an onboard accelerometer that tracks your steps taken, distance walked, and calories burned. Finally, they have the ability to measure shock absorption levels and advise you when they are getting low.
The word is that the Digisole Smartshoe 001 will be available in the Autumn of 2016 for around $450 USD.
Powerlace have returned to Kickstarter with the P-One auto-lacing sneaker.
The Powerlace P-One is the result of extensive research into how sneakers can lose the old-fashioned tying of laces forever. P-One features an automatic adjustment system that is activated when you step into the shoe.
The self-lacing system is designed to provide an equal distribution of tension on the top of your foot. They also have a dynamic balancing system that adapts to your foot’s motion, making them suitable for outdoor terrain as well as casual use.
The retail price of the Powerlace P-One will be $179 CAD. You can head over to kickstarter and grab a pair for a discounted price of $119 CAD (at the time of writing). The estimated shipping date for Kickstarter backers is April 2017.
For many of us, the tying of shoelaces would’ve been one of the first constructive things we learned as a child, but kids of the not-so-distant future will be instead occupying that learning space with buttons and voice commands..
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