Nike Just Made Back to the Future’s Self-Lacing Shoes a Reality

HyperAdapt 1.0 coming this holiday season

The Nike Mag is finally coming. Well, sort of. A version of it, at least.

The elusive shoe, from the fictional film Back to the Future II, has been something fans have begged Nike to create. Arguably a white whale of shoe enthusiasts, the shoe, power laces and all, had yet to come from Nike's Portland headquarters and be available to fans on a mass scale. But now, during the holiday season later this year, the company will finally release a shoe with the Nike Mag's key function: That's right, a self-lacing shoe is coming and it's meant for athletes. 

"Innovation at Nike is not about dreaming of tomorrow. It's about accelerating toward it," said Nike innovation chief Tinker Hatfield, in a statement. "We're able to anticipate the needs of athletes because we know them better than anybody. Sometimes, we deliver a reality before others have even begun to imagine it."

There's a catch, though. The shoe, the Nike HyperAdapt 1.0, which will be available in three colors, will only be available to members of Nike's app, Nike+

As the company puts it the shoe, "translates deep research in digital, electrical and mechanical engineering into a product designed for movement. It challenges traditional understanding of fit, proposing an ultimate solution to individual idiosyncrasies in lacing and tension preference." 

Nike's central conceit with the development of the shoe isn't just to make fans of the film happy. The self-lacing system will also help athletes reduce a typical concern: distraction. 

Though Tiffany Beers, senior innovator and project lead, was tapped to create the Nike Mag in April 2015 and it was quietly released on Oct. 21 (the date the fictional film takes place) the shoe wasn't made available to the public. 

"When you step in, your heel will hit a sensor and the system will automatically tighten," explained Beers in a statement. "Then there are two buttons on the side to tighten and loosen. You can adjust it until it's perfect." 

But the sensor technology, something many brands and marketers are focused on this year, doesn't simply tighten laces. The shoe's sensor tech will allow it to make "swift micro-adjustments" which will mean that "undue pressure caused by tight tying and slippage resulting from loose laces" won't happen anymore. It will also allow consumers and athletes a new level of personalization.

"That's an important step, because feet undergo an incredible amount of stress during competition," said Hatfield. "It is amazing to consider a shoe that senses what the body needs in real-time. That eliminates a multitude of distractions, including mental attrition, and thus truly benefits performance."