Technology in all its forms, from self-driving cars, to the Internet of Things connected devices is changing our lives, and now its about to change the world of fashion. After 28 years of brainstorming and 11 years of Research & Development, Nike has created the next big thing in the footwear industry with the release of HyperAdapt 1.0, their automatic electronic self-lacing sneaker that is being made at factories throughout Asia.
For people who are challenged to tie their shoelaces, the Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 works like a miracle. With a sensor, battery, motor, and cable system built into the shoes, once you insert your feet into them, the shoes will tighten automatically until they touch “stop” friction points.
Although this footwear technology “breakthrough” seems incredible, especially after more than 10 years of development and expense, concerned customers are wondering how much the price tag will be and they wonder what will happen when they’re wearing the shoes on a marathon run and their batteries run out? Will the shoes open automatically but then can’t be laced up manually to continue the run? Or will their feet be held captive for an eternity, or at least till they can get home and recharge?
These are questions that will keep concerned runners up at night pondering various running scenarios and outcomes while they wait for reviews from the first people to buy the shoes, run in them and review them.
Mark Parker, the company’s CEO and Tinker Hatfield, the company’s famous Vice President for Design and Special Projects, have led the dream of adaptive and futuristic footwear technology for more than 20-years.
Hatfield is considered a legend of design, and oversees Nike's "Innovation Kitchen” and is famous for his many innovative designs and numerous creations over more than three decades. Both Parker and Hatfield believe that the HyperAdapt is the first step in a revolution in adaptive footwear, and that all of the money that has been spent in the shoe’s development is worth it.
As Hatfield and Parker described: “What about a shoe that would essentially come alive when you put it on? It would sense you. It would become the shape of your foot, and when it came alive it would light up. Wouldn’t it be great if shoes could do that?”
Nike’s HyperAdapt 1.0 is expected to be on sale in the market at the end of November but will be available at selected retail stores on an “appointment” basis. However, Nike has yet to release information on which stores will be carrying the shoes, how to make appointments for “fittings” or what the prices of shoes will be.
While unusual for a “sports” brand, in the world of “fashion” this lack of information is actually seen to be creating an air or “exclusivity” and a social media buzz that the company will be keen to maximize until the day the shoes begin to be sold.
Nike is the largest footwear supplier and manufacturer in the world, with estimated global revenue of $30.6 billion in 2015. This year, with the launch of its new power-lacing shoes, analysts ask to what degree the company will continue to grow.
If consumers do not take to the HyperAdapt 1.0 the companies overall revenues for the company are expected to stay at the same level. However, if consumers embrace and love the new shoes then it could be a game changer worth billions of dollars in new revenue to Nike and other companies in the coming years and it may change the footwear industry forever.