Nike's latest performance basketball shoe, from concept to reality, took about three years to build.
Or 30 years, depending on your account.
The Nike Adapt BB – a smartphone-controlled, self-lacing smart shoe – will be released on Sunday, coinciding with the NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte. It has a motor built into the shoe, a very high cost of $ 350 and carriers will have to give them a little time on a wireless charger every two weeks or so.
But Nike also insists it's not just a gadget or gadget for the feet, but technicians and sneakerheads will get it because of the cool factor. It has also been designed to be precise, among the best players in the world. Even with the technical features, it weighs about as much as a more conventional upscale basketball shoe.
"The design component of the shoe, it has been designed and is designed in the same vein as our most successful basketball products," said Jordan Rice, a member of Nike's Intelligent Systems team. who gave birth to Adapt. "So, more capacity, big life."
A small number of NBA players are already in the Adapt, including Boston's Jayson Tatum, rookie Luka Doncic of Dallas, Kyle Kuzma of the Los Angeles Lakers and Frank Ntilikina of New York. Some future players of the NBA were also exposed; Duke's men's basketball team gave them a test drive.
"It's a shoe, it's a good shoe," said Cam Reddish, a notable player. "I did not break it enough so I could wear it in a match, but it's a phenomenal sneaker."
According to Rice, it took almost three years, from the concept of Adapt, to move from the first drawing to the first game, although others insist that this idea dates back to 1989.
Nike has developed this self-lacing shoe at the request of those looking to add a futuristic touch to "Back to the Future, Part II", launched 30 years ago. In the movie, Michael J. Fox's character, Marty McFly, dons a pair of high gray Nike shoes that glow and lighten in the blink of an eye – what is claimed to be the kind of thing everyone will wear in 2015.
"Power laces! Agree!" McFly says as the shoe tightens around his foot and ankle.
Life imitates art.
The buttons on the side of the soleplate adjust the tension of the laces or the way the shoe wraps around the foot. When synchronizing with an application – keeping in mind the highest level of security and encryption – the colors of the shoes can also be changed at any time in contact with a phone.
The idea is to have a custom fit for each foot. Over time, the application could also collect performance data.
"What might look like the future is something much more integrated with digital services, but that feels real-time and contextual," Rice said.
Nike has already played in the game of lacing, about three years ago, with shoes that Tinker Hatfield – the legendary Nike designer who invented the concept seen in the movie – called E.A.R.L., or responsive electro adaptive lacing.
"It's the future," said Hatfield at a Nike event in 2016.
Nike apparently thinks that the future – or a better future – is now.
"There is just something cool about it," Tatum said. "It's like a glove."
Tatum was part of a small group of professionals who were brought to Nike's headquarters in Oregon to test the shoes a few months ago. The list of players also includes WNBA stars Kelsey Plum and Breanna Stewart. But the real tests – given that shoes are actually an electronic piece – go well beyond some of the best players in the world by seeing their ability to run, jump and cut.
They were soaked all night in the water, sprayed with water cannons for 20 minutes, hammered with thousands of pounds of force under extreme conditions. The shoes were still running and the bells and whistles still worked.
In simple terms, they are ready to sweat.
"They are tested to such an extent," said Rice. "You know, it's one of the most tested products ever produced by Nike."
Joedy McCreary, AP Sports Writer, Durham, NC, contributed to this report.
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