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Self Lacing Shoes Are the New Wave, Just Ask Jordan Brand.

Updated: Dec 11, 2020

With Jordan brand releasing info about their newest addition to the self lacing shoe game I thought this would be the perfect time to tell the story about the time my friends thought I was about to die at the Nike flagship in New York as well as my super “unbiased” opinion on the idea of self lacing sneakers.


Back in January 2019 there were leaked images of a 100% self lacing basketball shoe from Nike and my jaw hit the floor. This wasn’t the first time Nike has gone down the self lacing path in regards to sneakers. Tinker Hatfield the greatest sneaker engineer in history who’s repertoire includes the Jordan 3 & 11 as well as the air max 1 was the lead on the Nike Mag a few years prior. The Nike Mag was Nikes functional recreation of the self lacing shoes from the movie “Back to the Future”


Nike "Mag" (Back To The Future)

https://stockx.com/nike-air-mag-back-to-the-future


Tinker and fellow sneaker engineer Tiffany Beers came together and created the “E.A.R.L” lacing system which stands for Electro Adaptive Reactive Lacing. This lacing system was introduced in the Nike “Mag” and “Adapt” models. Both were able to been worn casually but the hefty price tag coupled with the lack of functionality made the original “Adapt” less realistic than many had hoped when first hearing about self lacing sneakers. That is until January 2019 when Nike confirmed a basketball grade self lacing sneaker was going to hit the market.


Nike Adapt BB's (action shot)

https://www.oregonlive.com/news/g66l-2019/02/7c668ad22d2962/nikes-selflacing-shoes-hit-shelves-sunday.html


I personally love the tech side of sneakers (which is why I’ll always have an affinity towards the Air max line) so upon hearing about the release for the new “Adapt BB’s” I knew I needed a pair, but how was I going to manage to even cop a pair in Canada let alone all the way in New Brunswick?! I had plans to go to Montreal over our spring semester reading week which just happened to line up perfectly with the “Adapt BB” release and Montreal was just a short (six hour) drive to New York City so you know I had to figure how I could pull this off. How was a broke university student like myself going to pull this off though?


Nike Flagship (NYC)

https://news.nike.com/news/nike-nyc-house-of-innovation-000


Classes ended Thursday afternoon and the "Adapt BB's" were set to release that coming Sunday, that's a tight window to get from Sackville NB to Montreal to New York. My girlfriend at the time packed up the car Wednesday night and as soon as class ended we hit the road. We got to Montreal Friday afternoon and met up with some two friends coming from Ottawa for this adventure late Friday night. Five hours of sleep later and we were on the road to New York at 5:00am Saturday morning. After a few speed bumps, literally, we arrived in New York around 11:00am Saturday. After we check into the hotel as two people and sneak the other two up into the room I announced that i needed to head to the Nike flagship on Fifth Avenue to ask some questions about the drop for the next morning because we only had so much time before we had to leave the next morning at noon.


Nike "Adapt BB"

https://stockx.com/nike-adapt-bb-black-pure-platinum


We strolled through Central Park and shopped our way down Fifth Ave before finally making it to the promised land. As we walk into the Nike flagship my heart sinks as I see that the entire first floor of the store is fully themed and dedicated to the history of the self lacing shoe, E.A.R.L, ad the "Adapt BB". In a brief moment of self doubt thoughts creep into my head that I don't stand a chance at grabbing a pair of these shoes. as we delve deeper into the store i see this really long line up and I have ZERO clue what its for but I jumped into that line up so fast just in case. My friends wander off deeper into the store while I wait in this line for who knows what, after only maybe three minutes they all come back and wait in line with me. I'm telling them to go and shop and not to let me hold them back. Unbeknownst to me they had only made it to the second floor (of six) before they stopped and my friend Diana mentioned to the others "maybe we should go stand with Dean, he looks really pale, kind of like he might pass out." They come back because they fear for my health because I am so overwhelmed at this point. Honestly not a bad call on they part because I was about as pale as a ghost.


Me not knowing about an early drop at the Nike store wasting time.


As we get closer to the front of the line I can finally see an employee and I asked her sheepishly "Stupid question but what exactly is this line up for?" She replies telling me it is to book a time to try on the "Adapt BB's" because there are no returns so they were making everyone try them on before buying. I'm thinking in my head at this point "I have too book a time to try these on today and they drop tomorrow?! This is insane!" So I decide to keep asking stupid questions, this time I ask "Like book a time tomorrow?" and she says "No to book a time today, you can purchase the shoes today". When I tell you I was overwhelmed that would be an understatement, this wasn't in the weeks of planning that went into this trip, this was a curve ball. These shoes were dropped a day early only at the Nike flagship in New York... Finally I get to the front of the line and this poor employee is probably thinking to herself "Who is this guy and why is he so shaky and asking me all these stupid questions?" I am able to book a time slot to try the shoes on just fifteen minutes later which is amazing, it keeps us on schedule to make our dinner reservations.


I show up for my appointment, they walk me into a laboratory and an employee in a lab coat walks me through the app involved in the shoes and how they work. I would be lying if I said I listened to a single word he said. I had blacked out at that point, the roller coaster of emotions I had gone through in the thirty minutes took at least ten years off of my life. This was the moment, I had gone through all of this just to purchase a single pair of sneakers, we made it, bag secured. The second the purchase went through I had hit warp speed just to get back to the hotel to lock them up and try them on, I was not about to walk around NYC with the giant box they came in. This honestly turned out to be the perfect scenario because we were able to enjoy the twelve hours left we had in NYC.


So I may be a little bias but my opinion on self lacing sneakers is that they can never miss, I don't care how ugly some may be in the future the tech involved along with the best twenty four hours of my entire life, in my favorite city in the world with the people that mean the most to me puts a soft spot in my heart for "Adapts" past, present and future.


To Marc, Diana and Kayla I appreciate you guys more than you know for helping plan this whole thing and for going along on this adventure with me.

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