Almost 30 years ago, actor Michael J. Fox stepped onto the silver screen as Marty McFly in the hit Back to the Future 2 movie. Scenes from the movie have been cemented in pop culture and, for a long time, shaped what we hoped or dreamed the future would one day be. A very short scene involves our protagonist, who traveled from 1989 to 2015, as he encounters a futuristic looking pair of Nike high-top sneakers dubbed the “Nike Mag”. Marty puts his feet in the shoes and casually remarks, “Power Laces, alright!” as the shoes automatically tighten around his feet.
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In 2011 a petition signed by over 30,000 people encouraged Nike to partner with the Michael J. Fox Foundation to build a prototype of the iconic sneakers. The shoes were auctioned and raised nearly $10 million in 10 days which was entirely donated to the foundation to help fund the search for a cure to Parkinson’s disease.
Now, Nike has announced the Nike Mag 2016 and has once again partnered with the Michael J. Fox Foundation to raise awareness and funds for Parkinson’s research. The shoes are nearly identical to those portrayed in the movie, complete with the self-lacing system and lights. The Nike Mag 2016 is a limited run model and only 89 will be made. However, not anybody can purchase a pair. The 89 models will be raffled off globally. To get your hands on a pair, you have to purchase a $10 ticket and pray you get lucky.
For those who really, really want self-lacing shoes, Nike will soon release the NIKE HYPERADAPT 1.0 for somewhere around $300-$400. The Mag and Hyperadapt are not just neat props. They are fully functioning sneakers that can be used for sports. Nike spent 10 years working on the technology to ensure it is functional and not intrusive or hindering to the user. Sensors in the shoe detect when a person inserts the foot. Based on the size of the foot, the built in computer processes how tight the shoes should be and automatically adjusts. The fit can be altered using two buttons embedded in the collar of the shoes. A yellow button activates the lights. The shoes obviously need to be charged. Nike has shown through these new sneakers that some of our ideas about the future aren’t too far-fetched. All we need to do now is wait until a real hoverboard hits stores.