Nike has had a few stabs at a self-lacing shoe, with the most recent being the Nike Adapt BB ‘smart shoes’ for basketball pros and people who like to dress like them. Now it’s going full street and more tech with a self-lacing version of Nike Huarache, the original ‘ugly’ trainer. Adapt Huarache uses the same FitAdapt tech as BB but ‘adapts’ it for street wear instead of playing basketball or pretending to play basketball.
The self-lacing shoe has been a dream of sneaker nuts since Back To The Future 2 and with Nike Adapt Huarache they are now pretty much reality. Not only do they tighten and loosen themselves, they do so via voice command and/or from your future-o-matic wrist controller. Or ‘via Siri or Apple Watch’ to put in your puny human tongue.
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Of course, ‘self-lacing shoes’ are actually not a very futuristic idea – nobody in Space Year 3000 is going to be keeping their shoes on with little bits of cord, are they? So what Nike Adapt Huarache actually does is use a small motor to tighten and relax permanently ‘tied’ plastic wires.
Unlike BB which was aimed at actual athletes, Adapt Huarache is for what Nike calls ‘everyday athletes’, with the example given being someone running for the bus. You simply tell Siri (or use your Watch) to tighten up the lacing system so you can sprint after that mother, then when you’re safely onboard, relax them so you can chill out like a boss.
But how do you pronounce Huarache?
Nike Huarache launched in 1991 and was among the original ‘ugly trainers’ with a bold and/or gross appearance, depending on your age or taste in shoes. The Adapt Huarache has a similar silhouette and lack of obvious Nike branding to the original but doesn’t include the neoprene inner ‘bootie’ and outer ‘exoskeleton’ that really defined it.
Where the Huarache DNA is most obvious is in the fit – the double layered construction of the original were famously snug yet comfy. With a version of Nike FitAdapt updated from that used in the BB, a wider array of snugness settings is available ‘amid various environments and situations’. Nike describes this as a ‘key revolution given the multi-purpose nature of contemporary lifestyle footwear.’
The motor for tightening and loosening the shoe is placed in the mid-foot area of the shoe, and controlled from the Nike Adapt app with ‘a themed interface specific to the Huarache’. A variety of fit presets are available, for various foot types and activities. As noted, the app can also be controlled via Apple Watch and/or Siri, allowing for easier on-the-go shifts in fit – the BB used a button on the shoe itself.
Nike Adapt Huarache: release date, availability and price