The future is now. No, we don’t yet have flying cars or people living in space, but we do have self-tying sneakers. That’s right, just like Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly in Back to the Future, you can now get your hands on a pair of self-tying shoes.
With the HyperAdapt shoe, Nike introduced new technology to the footwear industry: smart sneakers. These futuristic shoes make tripping over untied laces a thing of the past but how do they work? Are we ready for advanced, intelligent sneakers that do most of the work for us?
Nike HyperAdapt 1.0
Nicknamed E.A.R.L. (Electric Adaptable Reaction Lacing), this technology is what turned self-lacing shoes into a reality. With E.A.R.L., the lacing and pressure of the shoes are automatically adjusted to fit the unique features of your foot.
When you put the sneakers on, E.A.R.L. is activated when your heel hits the sensor. You should be able to feel the shoes tightening, but you can be sure the technology is working when the heel lights begin to flash. According to the Nike website, “When you see the blue glow, let E.A.R.L. do its thing.”
Nike officially released the HyperAdapt 1.0 shoes in limited quantity on December 1, 2016, for $720. Since the initial release, the HyperAdapt sneakers have been released several times, in extremely small quantities. You can find a select few pairs being sold independently online, but be prepared to shell out over $1,000.
Nike Adapt BB
In 2019, Nike introduced a more affordable version of the self-lacing sneaker. The Nike Adapt BB is a basketball shoe that utilizes Nike’s E.A.R.L. technology. But why a basketball shoe instead of a multipurpose performance shoe like the original HyperAdapt 1.0?
“We picked basketball as the first sport for Nike Adapt intentionally because of the demands that athletes put on their shoes. 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.” -Eric Avar, VP Creative Director of Innovation at Nike.
But how exactly does the Adapt BB work? Nike calls this unique technology “FitAdapt.” According to their website, players can use different settings for various parts of a game. Reportedly, they will soon even be able to set use a unique “tightness setting” while they are warming up before a game.
The person wearing the shoes can save pre-sets on the app so that all they need is a tap of the finger to switch modes. However, if you can’t access the app, you will have to use buttons on the side of the show to adjust the fit.
However, you don’t have to be a professional athlete to enjoy the benefits of these smart shoes, although they will set you back a hefty $350.
Are Self-Lacing Shoes Worth The Hype?
The guys over at Highsnobiety tested Adapt BB sneakers on the basketball court and were pretty straightforward with their review saying they think the shoes are well worth the price.
The shoes are charged using a wireless charging pad, but Nike has confirmed that 5 percent battery is likely enough to last up to two days, so you don’t have to worry about charging the shoes every chance you get.
For $350, you get the sneakers (E.A.R.L. technology included) and the wireless charging pad. When you think about the price of the original HyperAdapt 1.0 or the cost of a signature basketball shoe, $350 doesn’t seem all that bad.
If you are one to enjoy the perks of advanced, stylish, and convenient shoes, the Nike Adapt BB should be your next purchase, especially if you tend to enjoy taking part in the competitiveness of a basketball game. Otherwise, we think you should still get the sneakers but consider them a bit of a splurge. If nothing else, they are undoubtedly a great conversation starter.