Nike’s latest sports shoe may look a bit unorthodox, but the hands-free design could be a game changer both those in a hurry to get out the door, and to athletes with disabilities for whom a conventional system of laces, zips or fastenings prove problematic.
The Nike GO FlyEase will be available first in “limited quantities” for Nike members via invite from February 15, and then to everyone else later in the year. Whenever you can purchase a pair, it’ll set you back $120.
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“If you design for the most extreme needs, then you're unlocking benefits for everybody,” explained (opens in new tab) paralympic athlete Sarah Reinertsen, who was involved in the design of the FlyEase. “If a shoe works for someone who has no hands, then it will work for people who have two hands."
The method for removing the shoe may look somewhat familiar to those of us who don’t treat our regular running shoes with the utmost respect — pushing down the heel of one shoe with the toes of the other foot. With everyday shoes, this would be bad for the materials, both stretching out the sole and breaking down the back over time.
The FlyEase, however, has been specifically designed for this treatment, thanks to its flexible sole that bends up in the middle when not in use, but instantly snaps back when a foot is inserted thanks to the tension band around the outside. You can see an early prototype with a torn shoe and a surgical tube in the video below.
We’d expect demand to be high for the invite-only first batch, in part because the price of $120 is competitive with mid-range running shoes. If the Nike GO FlyEase offers an equally pleasurable experience once they're on, then the company could have a hard time keeping these shoes in stock once the invite-only period is over.
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