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Nike’s new smart shoe has me backtracking on previous opinions


nike adapt bb self-lacing shoe
Image: Nike

Listen. You’re not going to see me eat my shoe, but I’m definitely starting to warm to Nike’s new Adapt BB smart trainers. Partly because they look like they might actually fit my Hobbit feet, but the clincher was seeing the internal lacing system. I mean look at it in the video below, it’s like something out of an H.R. Geiger fever-dream, overengineered and put into shoes.

Pinhead and the rest of the Cenobites could use these to torture the next unlucky person to solve that puzzle cube. I know I ragged on Nike for making us lazier than we already are, but this feels more innovative than I’d originally thought.

Nike eventually wants to get the system to check your blood pressure and adjust the laces according to how swollen your feet are. Maybe that’ll help in non-sports areas, like retail workers who are on their feet all day, or fast-food workers.

Check out how it works

More about the shoe

The lighting is RGB too, so you can individualize your kicks. Wonder if it can cycle for when you’re hitting the clubs? The app also applies firmware upgrades to the shoes. I have to wonder how secure it is? Can a malicious actor squeeze your feet to pulp? Or maybe just update the time-old undone laces trick from schoolyard days.

The humble shoelace was probably due for an upgrade, after all, it’s over 5,000 years old. That’s before anyone realized that you could make a chariot with two wheels, before money, before the invention of paper even. With the FitAdapt system letting you opt-in to sending usage data to Nike, imagine what they can do with that level of data. Constant, personalized upgrades that let the shoe adapt to you, rather than you having to adapt to the shoe.

It could be the new paradigm for shoe design, at least until things like nanomachines that can create clothing are science fact instead of science fiction. Until then, I think I’ll stick with my laces-free kicks.

What do you think? Need a pair? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at joe@knowtechie.com.

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