Nike announces self-lacing shoes

Nike HyperAdapt

What a time to be alive! Nike has announced that it’s HyperAdapt self-lacing sneakers will finally, FINALLY, be available on November 28th. You can read the press release at this link.

I’m not sure why, but there seems to be more hyperbole around this than is normal for a product release, even in the press announcement. For example: Nike’s own press release, linked above, is titled “Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 manifests the unimaginable.” Transworld Business titled their article about these shoes (and I am not making this up), “Transcending time, space, and our perception of reality, Nike has brought us the shoe that no one that (sic) possible outside the realms of science fiction: the HyperAdapt 1.0.

Let’s not get carried away. It’s a neat thing, but it’s not a future-breaking invention that will unite the world in harmony. Also, I wonder if “self-lacing” is the right term. You see, they don’t actually lace up like a ghost is tying your shoes. Rather, they tighten; a motor in the base of the shoe pulls what looked like pre-laced laces tighter until sensors deem they’re tight enough, and of course the person wearing them can make adjustments if necessary. The motor that does it is rechargeable, and there are lights in the shoe to indicate the status of the charge.

Here’s a video about it, one that goes beyond mere promotion into the realm of world-saving, but these kinds of things have started to concern me. Is this a sign of encroaching laziness, or a useful feature that we need? I can tie my shoes, and do so to just the right amount of pressure. Do I need a self-lacing shoe? With self-driving cars, self-cooking food, self-playing guitars, and whatever else doesn’t need a human, where does it end? I know it’s just a shoe, but that’s exactly why it’s concerning.

And what happens if the motor malfunctions? Or the battery dies? Oh, the humanity!

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