Nike announces a self-lacing, iOS compatible basketball shoe

Nike has announced the Nike Adapt BB, the first shoe in its platform “that creates a truly custom fit by combining an advanced power-lacing system, an app and continually updated firmware.”

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“We picked basketball as the first sport for Nike Adapt intentionally because of the demands that athletes put on their shoes,” says Eric Avar, Nike vice president of Creative Director of Innovation. “During a normal basketball game the athlete’s foot changes and the ability to quickly change your fit by loosening your shoe to increase blood flow and then tighten again for performance is a key element that we believe will improve the athlete’s experience.”

Here’s how it works, according to Nike: When a player steps into the Nike Adapt BB, a custom motor and gear train senses the tension needed by the foot and adjusts accordingly to keep the foot snug. The tensile strength of the underfoot lacing is able to pull 32 pounds of force (roughly equal to that of a standard parachute cord) to secure the foot throughout a range of movement.

That’s where the brain, or FitAdapt tech, kicks in. By manual touch or by using the Nike Adapt app on a smartphone, players can input different fit settings depending on different moments of a game. For example, during a timeout, a player can loosen the shoe before tightening it up as they re-enter the game. In a forthcoming feature, they can even prescribe a different tightness setting for warm-ups. Plus, players can opt in to firmware updates for the FitAdapt technology as they become available, sharpening the precision of fit for players and providing new digital services over time.

The Nike Adapt BB will be available in February for (brace yourself) $350. And the company will release an iOS compatible Nike Adapt app that let you adjust each shoe individually, and eventually create presets for different parts of a game.