I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the Internet would like to let you know that today is Back to the Future Day (in the US at least, it’s been and gone in Australia because we really do live in the future).
And what better way to celebrate 21 October 2015, the day that Marty McFly arrived when he travelled to the future in Back to the Future Part II, than with the announcement that Nike has actually made those sneakers. Oh and don’t worry, these self-lacing beauties aren't just some slick marketing gimmick - they’re coming in spring 2016, which right now feels so close, yet so, so far away.
"We started creating something for fiction and we turned it into fact, inventing a new technology that will benefit all athletes," says Nike CEO, Mark Parker.
Called the Nike Mag, the first iteration of the sneakers was released back in 2011, only without the self-lacing - or so-called "power lacing" - technology it’s equipped with now. The 2015 Nike Mag will make its public debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live tonight, with Marty McFly himself, Michael J. Fox, in appearance. He was gifted the first pair earlier today, and they look so awesome.
For those of you who just want to know how to get your own pair, you’ll have to wait for spring 2016, when Nike says they’ll be sold at auction with all proceeds going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. There’s no word just yet on what the pricing will be, but Nike says specific details on the auctions will be posted to Nike News and Twitter in 2016.
An auction of Mag shoes back in 2011 raised an impressive US$9.4 million, so the prospect of what next year’s auction could do for our understanding of Parkinson’s disease and how to treat it is really exciting.
According to Edgar Alveraz at Engadget, as cool as they look already, Nike’s responsive power laces are still in their infancy, a representative from the brand telling him that the 2015 Mag features the first iteration of the technology. In basic terms, the system works by sensing the wearer’s movements and adapting the fit of the shoe to provide personalised support.
To get a slightly better idea of the nuts and bolts, Nike posted some details of the patent it filed back in July 2014. It appears that the power lacing mechanism has been inserted in the midsole of the shoe, and is activated via a button on the exterior, which controls a kind of "cog and pulley system", Lara O'Reilly reports for Business Insider.
Ultimately, it seems that Nike would like to get these shoes on the feet of professional atheletes in the near future, announcing that they're continuing to test the technology across multiple sports, and "incorporating feedback into future game-changing footwear with unprecedented performance features that have the potential to impact athletes around the world". Which is PR-spreak for "We just want to make the most talked-about sports shoe on the planet."
Next stop? Hoverboard capability. We seriously cannot wait.