“Back To The Future” Power Laces Herald Quantum Wave of Shoe Tech
Marty McFly's self-lacing sneaks will soon be thing of the present, along with advances in Nike shoe technology
Fans of the timeless Back to the Future trilogy may soon have reason to rejoice.
In the next year, the creator of the iconic BTTF 2 Nikes plans to unveil a real-life version of the film’s “power laces,” and may do so amid a variety of other high-tech advances in shoe-making.
As Nice Kicks reported, designer Tinker Hatfield recently confirmed to an Agenda Trade Show audience in Long Beach, CA that “his team is working as hard as possible to deliver the Nike MAG in 2015 with Power Laces.” Hatfield pointed out to audiences that there were still “11 and two-thirds months left in 2015” at the time of his announcement, making shoe fans aware that they’ll have to wait just a little longer for the fully equipped version of Nike MAGs.
In the mean time, other companies are also working to close the tech gap between a world without self-lacing shoes and one that proudly contains them.
D’Wayne Edwards, founder of Pensole and a former Nike Jordan design director, explained to Discovery News that a recent trend toward upgrading footwear with high-tech features will result in more than just cool-looking shoes; “if technology is used in it’s pure form — to make the human body better or to make the person more in tune with their body, feet or footwear — then it will only be an enhancement,” he continued.
In this vein, various tech developers and shoe-makers are currently working to place devices such as fitness trackers closer to the pavement.
A number of shoe designers — including footwear powerhouses Adidas and Nike — are also working with high-tech leaders to outline low-waste manufacturing processes, but also to develop, as in Nike’s case, “environmentally preferred” materials for shoes with lowered environmental impact. While researchers pursuing these aims are keeping the actual tech hardware in the lab and out of the shoe, their results stand to make shoes more eco-sound while being better-functioning for wearers.
I think the real technology will be on the chemical engineering side — being able to make material compounds and/or materials themselves that do more than just sit on top of your foot and look good.
Shoe developers are indeed intent on placing useful gadgetry around the wearer’s foot. The international team behind Instep Nanopower, for one, has developed a “revolutionary human gait energy scavenger” for harnessing “an inexhaustible high-power energy source for mobile electronics” from our footsteps. Shown above, the group’s insole is currently able to gather up to 20 watts of electricity from the mechanical energy generated by a walking foot, energy “which is normally simply lost as heat,” and use it to wirelessly power personal gadgets.