Nike has filed a patent for a new "automatic lacing system" that looks nothing so much like Marty McFly's Nike Air Mags from 2015.
You can take a look at the patent yourself, filed last year and kept pretty hush-hush until now. The abstract:
The automatic lacing system provides a set of straps that can be automatically opened and closed to switch between a loosened and tightened position of the upper. The article further includes an automatic ankle cinching system that is configured to automatically adjust an ankle portion of the upper.
You catch that? Push a button, and your shoes will lace themselves up. Ladies and gentlemen, the future is here.
There's already a DIY version of the self-lacing sneakers, although the rear-mounted motor is a little clunky:
The Nike design will have a drive unit mounted in the heel, optimistically small enough to avoid weighing down the shoe, and durable enough to allow it to take a typical pounding. The patent allows for any number of different motors and power sources, but states a preference for a rechargeable electric motor. Just plug them in and go.
It's unclear how close we are to actually having these on shelves (and on our feet, the day they come out). Patents are filed all the time, to beat the competition to an idea that may never come to fruition. But we do know that Nike has the technology, and at least a vague idea of how to put it together.
Besides, they've got until 2015. Now let's get to work on those hoverboards.