Nike's FlyEase technology has been an industry leader in its quest to make the perfect sneakers for people with disabilities, and today the Swoosh unveils its most accessible pair of kicks yet.
The new Nike "Go FlyEase" is a 100 percent hands-free sneaker, utilizing a bi-stable hinge for easy on and off access. To use it, a wearer simply toes the heel of the shoe to make it open up. The Go FlyEase then folds back into place when the foot steps in, completing a remarkably quick process.
Anyone who's been too lazy to bend down to put on their shoes has undergone a similar procedure, and this where Nike began with the design for the Go FlyEase. The first prototype was a cut-up Roshe Run with external surgical tube serving as a hinge. This garish sneaker eventually evolved into the bi-stable hinge for which Nike now has a patent pending.
There's more than meets the eye — The Go FlyEase's ability to quickly snap into place is enabled by a tensioner, which is essentially a giant rubber band above the midsole, that "super-charges" the action. Bebe Vio, a Paralympic fencer, said what a difference the sneaker makes in a press release from Nike.
"Usually I spend so much time to get in my shoes," Vio said. "With the Nike GO FlyEase, I just need to put my feet in and jump on it. The shoes are a new kind of technology, not only for adaptive athletes but for everyone's real life."
The Go FlyEase's hinge marks a clear split on the outsole and is highlighted by bright red outlines. While Nike set out to make the shoe explicitly for people with disabilities, it's found that the Go FlyEase can be useful for anyone who wants to put on their kicks in a cinch.
The soft launch is soon — Nike's latest development in its FlyEase series — which has used numerous systems across the basketball, running, and lifestyle fields — is slated to release February 15 for select Nike Members, who'll be notified if they can purchase via invite.
A wider launch will follow sometime later this year, and we're excited to see the feedback from the population of people with disabilities who aren't signed to Nike.