Consumer Tech Culture Electronics Gadgetry

Laceless shoes have never been this cool. Here’s the Nike Adapt BB

Over the past few years, technology has trickled down to various facets of human life. But shoes…? That’s something technology still hasn’t exactly touched upon. Until now. Nike recently unveiled their latest creation – The Adapt BB [Basketball]. It packs in a ton of technology right under your feet.

This technically isn’t their first ever pair of tech-enabled shoes. First, there was the Nike Air Mags 2016, which were the same self-lacing shoes worn by Martin McFly in Back to the Future II (same designer as well, Tinker Hatfield).  Then the same year, there was the HyperAdapt 1.0. (nicknamed EARL – Electric Adaptable Reaction Lacing ). It was more of a proof of concept rather than a commercial product and even had a very limited release. It was very difficult to get your hands on it due to production issues. Like any first-gen products, it costed a bomb at $ 720.

But the Adapt BB builds on the shortcomings of its predecessors and is Nike’s first self-lacing shoes for the masses. Nike has designed the shoe in a manner suitable for mass production and even goes for less than half the price at $ 350 (sale starts mid-Feb 2019). Which is why this pair holds significance as compared to the rest.

How the Tech Works

There is a really tiny motor which is the heart and soul of the shoe which resides in the mid-sole. There’s the underfoot-lacing system, which looks similar to parachute chords controlled by the motor. The lacing lines run over your foot and also back of the shoe’s collar behind your ankle giving the feet a very snug fit. The motor also houses the battery and also the Bluetooth module, with which it pairs to your iPhone via the Nike Adapt App (currently available only on iOS).

Source: Nike

Through this app, the chords can be tightened and loosen individually for each shoe until you find the perfect fit. They can be adjusted manually as well with the two buttons present on the mid-sole. The sneakers also have presets, through which it remembers just how tight you like your shoes.

The colors of these buttons can be changed through the Adapt app. The app is also used to monitor the battery life of the shoes. Speaking of which, Nike claims the shoes will run for almost 3 weeks on a single charge. And the cherry on top, the shoes charge wirelessly. Nike provides a wireless charging pad along with the shoes in the box. Sigh, did we ever imagine a day would come wher we’d have to charge our shoes?

The shoes can also be used to monitor athletic performances. And the best part about the shoes is that whenever it unlaces or tightens itself, it emits a very cool mechanical buzzing sound. In an interview with GQ, Hatfield told he drew inspiration for the sounds from the film WALL-E.

Basketball and more…

Since these are basketball shoes geared towards the future, it only seemed appropriate for these shoes to be featured by the future stars of NBA. Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics), De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento Kings), and rookie – sensation Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks) were some of the young stars signed up to showcase these shoes. In fact, Jayson Tatum debuted these pair of sneakers yesterday during a warm-up session.

Nike also mentioned in their blog post that with Basketball shoes being their first official entrant in the FitAdapt System, the next target would be to design shoes for other sports and lifestyles, each with its unique fit.


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