Tech of the Week: Rewind to the Future with some self-lacing shoes

Back to the Future II
This year marks the year where Marty McFly and Doc Brown make their trip to the future. While we are still years away from hovercrafts and hover skateboards, and we certainly don’t use faxes anymore, Nike has come up with the next best thing – the self-lacing shoes.

“Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads!” The famous line from Doc Brown of Back to the Future fame is a part of every kid’s childhood born before the 90’s, and developers are clamouring to produce inventions and designs that match up to our imaginations.

With its deadline set on October 21st this year, Nike has managed to promise our very own self-lace up shoes before Marty and Doc gets here.

Power Laces

It’s been a long time since rumours have surfaced about the possibility of self-lacing shoes, but it has finally been recently confirmed by Nike innovation chief Tinkler Hatfield. Named Power Laces, news of the shoes were first broken by shoe enthusiast website Nice Kicks with an approved patent license to the US Patents Office.

Speaking at the #AgendaEmerge conference in Long Beach California earlier this month, Hatfield said his team is working as hard as possible to release the shoes this year. While no pricing information is available, it’s a given they’ll be costing a pretty penny considering the shoes automatically lace themselves up.

The shoes will be an upgraded version of the 2011 Nike MAG, a limited edition replica of the original sneakers worn by Marty McFly. Only 1,500 pairs were originally produced and auctioned on eBay to benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research. The updated shoes will have motorized rollers in the shoes’ soles that can sense weight and tighten the laces when they detect someone stepping in.


The latest Power Laces patent, originally filed in 2010, is actually vastly different to its original form, and is developed by technicians from Nike’s Portland office. The patent includes not only the automatic laces themselves, but also an “automatic ankle cinching system” that adjusts the ankle portion of the shoes to fit your feet better.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the original Back to the Future movie, and we’re all looking forward to the technologies that have arisen as a result.

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