Ingenious hands-free sneaker design

Originally published at: Ingenious hands-free sneaker design | Boing Boing


I don’t think that slippers conform to the FIE’s requirements for wheelchair fencing equipment.

More seriously, I know you’re being lighthearted here but in context it really comes off as ableist.

1 Like

There are a whole lot of folks for whom tying shoes is an encumbrance, and if we’re not going to get Back-to-the-Future-style running shoes anytime soon, I welcome another method that lets these folks have one less thing to worry about as part of their routine.

I think it’s likely that we’ll be in a market for these. My partner has Ankylosing Spondylitis and her not needing to bend over or rely on my help when her back is saying “Nope!” that day will be awesome for her independence when she just wants to go for a walk. :slight_smile:


I worry about the durability of that hinge, and the rubber/thermoplastic/whatever band that holds the tension when it’s on your foot, but it’s a cool design with huge benefit to people with disabilities.


Not to mention that the design here really is ingenious: a fully functional athletic shoe with a bistable design that allows it to be stepped into while securely enclosing the foot completely for athletic use? The list of people who could benefit from something like this is not short: folks with severe arthritis, amputees, people with chronic pain, people with CP, people with MS… This definitely deserves some credit.

I think the concerns that @spetrovits mentions are legitimate but to be fair I’ve had traditional athletic shoes that failed very early on on major structural components as well (e.g., the velcro strap loop cracking weeks into the life of the shoe?). But yeah, durability is a reasonable concern. Will be interesting to see how they last in practice. $120 is not a super high price point for a high-performance shoe, which on the one hand means that it should be relatively cheap to replace but on the other hand might also mean that it won’t last long to begin with.


I’d be a bit afraid of it breaking easily at the hinge…

1 Like

All it needs is one sports star endorsement, and everyone will have them.

Alt: How about one that slides apart forward and backward instead? Then institute some click-lock system that you step on with the other foot, or engage by moving your toes a certain way. Just need to make sure it flexes as expected. OR make the lacing space a gaping maw that eats your foot. THAT’D be fun. :smiley:


They’re technically basketball shoes but the Adapt BB is pretty much there. I haven’t heard any word on a running shoe version, though.


Not I; the aesthetic is hideous.

(Sarcasm recognized. :slight_smile: )


Well sure, but when has that stopped anyone?!


Once a workable mechanic for self-fastening shoes is designed and more-or-less standardized, I’m sure the aesthetics will catch up and the shoes will become more stylish. So it’s still very good news for people who need this! :heart_eyes:


Valid point, also recognized.


I wonder how resistant it is to standing water, like shallow puddles that can’t be avoided? And socks still remain a problem, I suppose.


I have the same concern about the Nike Adapt BB mentioned by @mototom.

How water resistant are the electronics?

Still, nice to see Nike trying to innovate.

In 20 years: Vice takes you on a tour of [insert hot new celebrity’s name]'s collection of vintage self-lacing Converse?

So, the invented loafers? :wink:

Seriously though, this is good.

Back when I was regularly hauling around small human(s) in my arms, and their attendant stuff, I don’t think I wore lace up shoes for a bout 7 years.

1 Like

And for those of us that don’t really wear sneakers there’s always the chelsea boot, which can conveniently be worn by people of any gender these days and which follows similar design principles as this invention.

1 Like

Nike will buy that.


I have the 2nd gen HyperAdapts and a pair of the Adapt BB. They definitely aren’t waterproof and shouldn’t be submerged, but rain and such isn’t a problem and the electronics are all sealed in the shoe.

I know this is firmly tongue-in-cheek, but Nike has kept Converse in the low-tech category. The Chuck Taylor II, which was an update of the original with the Lunarlon cushioning, was discontinued after a couple years.

I’m pretty sure there’s a policy that requires that I make explicit that I work for Nike. But I’m on the technology side and don’t have secret knowledge of future shoe plans. So they certainly could try high tech Converse again someday. But personally I doubt it.

1 Like

Love my custom pattern Chuck Taylors, in purple and black of course with a special black flower patch they offered at one point. As with all my shoes, I use in-soles, but they’re definitely not athletic shoes.

For athletic shoes Nikes are nice, but I prefer Asics. Still if they can develop a lace-free athletic shoe that fits securely with a color scheme other than fruit smoothie (I typically buy black athletic shoes so they don’t show dirt and stains), I’d be willing to give it a try.

Electronic shoes are right out for me, I’m afraid, as I’m strictly an outdoor runner and would be worried about puddles that I frequently run through on trails.

1 Like

If you ever make it to the Converse HQ store in Boston, they’ll custom print pretty much anything you want on a pair of Chucks.

Shoe trivia: Asics was what Nike sold before Nike was Nike and Asics was Asics.

To get back to the original topic, I do think these new shoes are a great idea. I know that many people on the shoe side really want to improve things for those with reduced dexterity or mobility that make it hard to tie shoes. And I’ve heard that they hate velcro.