There’s an invention in human history that’s older than you think. It’s older than coins, paper and the alphabet. In fact, it dates back to 3500 BC, before Stonehenge or the Pyramids.
That ancient invention? The shoelace. Now in 2019 they have been transformed into a crucial part of an intelligent product by Nike - The Nike Adapt trainers. As they invented sports shoes that adjusts its laces on its own based on your performance. The very first athlete who tried these astonishing new creations was the American basketball player Jayson Tatum. Here is his first impression based on this experience: "Being one of the first athletes to wear the shoe and being picked as a representative of the future of Nike basketball means a lot. That the app allows the ability to put the shoe on and touch the button, change the colours, see the percentage on the battery...it's just cool.
“We picked basketball as the first sport for Nike Adapt intentionally because of the demands that athletes put on their shoes,” says Eric Avar, Nike VP Creative Director of Innovation. “During a normal basketball game the athlete’s foot changes and the ability to quickly change your fit by loosening your shoe to increase blood flow and then tighten again for performance is a key element that we believe will improve the athlete’s experience."
Here it is how it works - when a player steps into the Nike Adapt BB, a custom motor and gear train senses the tension needed by the foot and adjusts accordingly to keep the foot snug. The tensile strength of the underfoot lacing is able to pull 32 pounds of force (roughly equal to that of a standard parachute cord) to secure the foot throughout a range of movement.
That’s where the brain, or FitAdapt tech, kick ya s in. By manual touch or by using the Nike Adapt app on a smartphone, players can input different fit settings depending on different moments of a game. For example, during a timeout, a player can loosen the shoe before tightening it up as they re-enter the game. In a forthcoming feature, they can even prescribe a different tightness setting for warm-ups. Plus, players can opt in to firmware updates for the FitAdapt technology as they become available, sharpening the precision of fit for players and providing new digital services over time.
According to Nike’s website, next step will be to bring FitAdapt to other sports and lifestyle products, each with unique demands for fit in different environments. Within the “lifestyle” category this includes us - normal people with very distinctive jobs with various level of pressure on our feet who can benefit from a sleek pair of trainers. Knowing that our shoes will be monitoring and regulating the comfort levels of our feet is certainly a very high-tech!