In 2015 Marty McFly donned self-lacing Nikes. And they were fly. It took 22 years, but today Nike released real versions of the coveted kicks showcased in Back to the Future. Earlier, director Frank Marshall hinted at some sort of big announcement on Twitter, "Something big is coming soon. Can't say anything yet. No one should know too much about their own destiny. #BTTF" Today it happened. Nike announced the Nike Air Mag, a pretty close replica of the futuristic footwear. We have finally caught up to the imagined technological wonderworld of Back to the Future--we've come so far. Well, not really. A look at the 2008 patent Nike obtained for an "Automatic lacing system" reveals some pretty simple mechanisms. Even so nostalgia and general awesomeness of the very close replica still make for a pretty awesome shoe.
Back in 2008 Nike released Hyperdunks, a proto-version of the Marty McFly shoe that didn't include the pressurized auto-lacing mechanism and only kind of looked like Marty's kicks, with the same high-top look. They weren't aesthetically or mechanically ideal. These look more legit.
A look at the patent literature gives a general outline of the thinking and technology behind the footwear. As the diagram shows, a weight sensor triggers a motor, which causes the shoes to tighten and close. For those with claustrophobic feet, the wearer can also manually loosen the apparatus. Nothing too novel.
Wearers also shouldn't expect a lightweight runner. The shoe houses a motor and a driveshaft in the soles. The patent continues:
In one aspect the invention provides an automatic lacing system for an article of footwear, comprising: a sole including a cavity; a motor disposed in the cavity the motor including a driveshaftl the driveshaft including at least one gear; at least one belt engaged with the at least on gear at an intermediate portion of the belt; a yoke member connected to the at least one belt at an attachment portion of the at least one belt; a plurarily of straps attached to the yoke member, the pluraily of straps being configured to adjust an upper of the article of footwhere and where the straps can be automatically moved between a closed position and a loosened position by activating the motor.
That's a lot of shoe, as you can see.
The actual replicas look pretty great, as you can see below.
And, according to Gizmodo, they'll work and look just like you've always dreamed.
The upper of the shoe is made of reinforced mesh. The outer sole is lined with LED panels that'll light up just like all futuristic shoes imagined in the 80's should (we're not talking corny LA Gear shoes here, people). The Air Mag is rechargeable and will stay lit for 5 hours. There's also a electroluminescent Nike logo in the strap. It's pretty much the exact replica of the pair of shoes Marty McFly famously wore with a few slight tweaks to add more support and comfort.
The future is now, people.