The Nike Adapt BB — a self-lacing smart shoe that can be controlled by a smartphone — gets released to the public on Sunday, a date that just happens to coincide with the NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte. It has a motor embedded within the shoe, a hefty $350 (roughly Rs. 25,000) price tag and wearers will need to give them some time on a wireless charging pad every couple weeks or so.
But Nike also insists that this isn’t just a gadget or gizmo for the feet, something techies and sneakerheads will get because of the coolness factor. It was also made with the baller — some of the world’s best ballers, to be precise — in mind. Even with the tech features, it weighs about as much as a more conventional high-end basketball shoe does.
“The footwear component of the design, it is intended and it is designed in the same vein as our highest performing basketball products,” said Jordan Rice, part of Nike’s smart systems team that made the Adapt happen. “So higher ability, high life.”
A small number of NBA players are already in the Adapt, including Boston’s Jayson Tatum, Dallas rookie Luka Doncic, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma and New York’s Frank Ntilikina. Some future NBA players have been exposed to it as well; the Duke men’s basketball team has given them a test drive.
“It’s a sneaker, it’s a good shoe,” Duke standout Cam Reddish said. “I didn’t break it in enough for me to wear in a game, but it’s a phenomenal sneaker.”
Rice said it took almost three years from the concept of the Adapt to go from first drawing to first game, though others would insist the idea goes all the way back to 1989.
The self-lacing shoe was something that Nike developed at the behest of those looking to add futuristic touches to “Back to the Future Part II,” released 30 years ago. In the film, Michael J. Fox’s character, Marty McFly, pulls on a pair of grey Nike high-tops that light up and lace themselves at a touch of a button — purportedly the sort of thing that everyone in the world will be wearing in 2015.
Buttons on the side of the sole can adjust the tension of the laces, or how the shoe wraps around the foot. When synced to an app — with the highest level of security and encryption in mind — the colours of the shoes can be changed as well at any time at the touch of a phone.
The idea is to have a true custom fit for every foot. In time, the app could also collect performance data.