Thanks to Nike, Children May Never Have to Learn to Tie Their Shoes

(The Washington Post) -
The Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 self-lacing shoe is displayed during a Nike unveiling event in New York on March 17. (Reuters/Eduardo Munoz)
The Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 self-lacing shoe is displayed during a Nike unveiling event in New York on March 17. (Reuters/Eduardo Munoz)

What’s the best thing about slip-on shoes? For many of us, it’s never having to tie your shoes.

Of course, this luxury doesn’t extend to all types of shoes. If you’re playing a sport or being active, tying a pair of laces is almost always required. (Unless Velcro is your type of thing.)

But that changed this week as Nike unveiled the Hyperadapt 1.0, which includes laces that automatically tighten to the shape of a person’s foot. When a person puts on one of the shoes, his or her heel hits a sensor, and the shoe automatically tightens. Two buttons on the side allow you to tighten or loosen yourself.

For now, the athlete still has power over how tight the laces are. Nike said that eventually, the shoe may make possible “an automated, nearly symbiotic relationship between the foot and shoe.” So as you go about your day, your shoes might automatically adjust to your circumstances.

In Nike’s fancy marketing lingo the new technology is “adaptive lacing.” It notes that never having to tie your shoes would eliminate distractions such as “mental attrition.”

That’s also a very polite way of saying we’re empowering everyone who is too lazy to tie their shoes.

Nike will begin offering the shoes at year’s end in three colors. If the adaptive laces are a hit, you can count on Nike offering the lacing technique in more of its shoes. And future generations may never have to learn the bunny-ear method of tying shoes.