Nike announced earlier this week that it will be releasing a new edition of the Nike Mags, its self-lacing shoes inspired by Back to the Future — but only 89 pairs, which will be raffled off (tickets cost $10), with proceeds benefiting the Michael J. Fox Foundation‘s research on Parkinson’s disease.
I got a chance to (briefly) try on a pair of Mags and discuss the technology with Nike Senior Innovator Tiffany Beers. Even though the odds are that you won’t get to try out these shoes yourself, the technology is the same one powering Nike’s HyperAdapt shoes, which will be a widely-available consumer product.
Beers talked about the long process of making self-lacing a reality — she said Nike designer Tinker Hatfield first asked her to look at the problem in 2005. She also explained why this could be more than just a cool novelty. (Though it is just undeniably cool to hear and feel the laces tightening around your feet.)
“Athletes can adjust these on-the-fly,” she said. “So time out in basketball, they can let bloodflow go back to the feet. Running performance, you know, if the shoe gets wet or if your foot’s swelling in a marathon, you can just change it.”