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Nike is bringing "Back to the Future" tech to the NBA

By Marcus Wong - on 17 Jan 2019, 4:26pm

Nike is bringing Back to the Future tech to the NBA

When second-year Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum stepped on court against the Toronto Raptors today, he became the first NBA player to play a game in Nike’s latest HyperAdapt BB, an auto-lacing sneaker that further expands on the first HyperAdapt 1.0 sneaker launched in late 2016.

If you’ll recall, Nike designer Tinker Hatfield received a request from Universal Studios back in 1980s to design a futuristic self-lacing shoe for the movie “Back to the Future 2”. Hatfield created what he called the Nike Mag, and since then the quest has been on to bring film fiction to reality.

Adjust the fit for each shoe via app.

Now, Hatfield has done just that, with a performance shoe that you can imagine will start to grace the feet of many more basketballers to come.

We picked basketball as the first sport for Nike Adapt intentionally because of the demands that athletes put on their shoes. During a normal basketball game the athlete’s foot changes and the ability to quickly change your fit by loosening your shoe to increase blood flow and then tighten again for performance is a key element that we believe will improve the athlete’s experience.

- Eric Avar, Nike VP Creative Director of Innovation.

When you step into the Nike Adapt BB, a custom motor and gear train senses the tension needed by the foot and adjusts accordingly to keep your foot snug. The tensile strength of the underfoot lacing can pull up to 32 pounds of force (roughly equal to that of a standard parachute cord) to secure the foot throughout a range of movement.

Then the FitAdapt tech kicks in. By manual touch or by using the Nike Adapt app on a smartphone, you can input different fit settings for different moments of the game. For example, during a timeout, you can loosen the shoe before tightening it up again when you re-enter. Future updates will allow you to specify different tightness settings for warm-ups, so you're covered throughout the session.

Some facts and figures about the new shoes.

The shoes are already on the US website, though there isn’t a retail price yet. In an interview with ESPN, Hatfield was quoted saying: "It's like phones and other technical innovations that are more expensive when they first come out. The more we keep engineering and rebuilding these motors, they shrink down, and we can put them into more sizes and fit women better, and maybe kids, too. "

Hopefully, that means the Nike Adapt BB will retail for much less than the US$720 HyperAdapt 1.0!  Availability in the US is supposed to be February this year, so hopefully, global release will be soon after.

In the meantime, here's two Twitter clips that tell you how much a handful of NBA players liked the new shoes, and roughly how the shoes work.


Sources: Nike, ESPN

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