On February 1, Nike debuted its new design, the GO FlyEase Hands-Free sneaker, that you’ve probably seen all over your feed already. While the shoe itself is incredibly cool and looks beyond comfortable, the inspiration behind the innovative design is even cooler.
Nike’s new hands-free silhouette was built with accessibility in mind, allowing a wearer to get in and out of the shoe without using their hands. They were created with a “bi-stable hinge that enables the shoe to be secure in fully open and fully closed states” and a tensioner that mimics the motion of kicking off a shoe to make getting in and out of the GO FlyEase easy for everyone — no laces, Velcro, or hands required.
The team behind the GO FlyEase did a great deal of work when bringing the shoe to life, including lots of math and making prototype shoes with sawed-up Nike Roshes fastened with tape. The tensioner looks like a large rubber band wrapped around the base of the sneaker. “The original concept behind this shoe was to support our adaptive athletes better. And we just quickly, throughout the process, found that this shoe was really universal,” says one of the designers in a “Behind the Design” video. “You always design for the most extreme case, that’s the hardest thing to do. And then it opens it up to everybody.”
According to FastCompany, the original prototype was designed for a Nike employee who had had a stroke, but the entire launch is a win for accessibility in design. Twitter users were psyched about the new design and took to the platform to share their thoughts. “Disability design for the win! In 2012, Matthew Walzer, a teen with cerebral palsy, wrote to Nike asking for athletic shoes for disabled people. Nike invited him to collaborate in the design of the original adaptive Nike FlyEase shoe,” shared one. “The FlyEase is for people of all abilities. Remarkable that one letter almost nine years ago continues to bring about so much change,” Walzer himself wrote. “A dope concept especially for adaptive athletes — let’s hope these shoes are widely accessible for those with accessibility needs,” tweeted another.
The GO FlyEase sneakers check all the boxes: They’re stylish, they’re comfortable, and they’re made for everyone. Per promotional images, the first launch will include three different colorways that you can check out below. If you are already planning to get your pair, here’s what you need to know: The shoes will be offered to Nike Members exclusively first, and are expected to hit shelves later this year. They will retail for $120.
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