NEW YORK, United States — In a big week for Nike, the global sportswear brand has announced a number of new projects tied to both fashion and functionality.
Debuting the Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 at the Nike Innovation Summit in New York earlier this week, the self-lacing shoe is the product of years of extensive research in digital, electrical and mechanical engineering.
“When you step in, your heel will hit a sensor and the system will automatically tighten,” explained Tiffany Beers, Senior Innovator at Nike, and the project’s technical lead.
“Then there are two buttons on the side to tighten and loosen. You can adjust it until it’s perfect,” she added.
Using functional simplicity to reduce distraction, a standard concern for athletes, the shoe challenges traditional understanding of fit, proposing an ultimate solution to individual idiosyncrasies in lacing and tension preference.
Currently controlled manually, Nike says the shoe is the first step into the future of adaptive performance, a journey they hope will eventually result in a symbiotic relationship between the foot and shoe.
“The potential of adaptive lacing for the athlete is huge, as it would provide tailored-to-the-moment custom fit,” Nike designer Tinker Hatfield explained.
“It is amazing to consider a shoe that senses what the body needs in real-time. That eliminates a multitude of distractions, including mental attrition, and thus truly benefits performance.”
Innovation has long been part of Nike’s growth strategy, with the brand focused on leading changes in the industry in order to become more competitive, more sustainable and more profitable.
However, prioritising functionality and performance doesn’t mean Nike is overlooking its more fashion-friendly inventory.
In an effort to cover all bases, the sportswear giant has also announced the launch of two new collections with Givenchy’s Creative Director Riccardo Tisci.
The NikeLab x RT collaboration, also part of Nike’s Innovation Summit, embraces both Tisci’s love of streetwear with Nike’s performance enhancing capabilities. The result is a high-fashion activewear line that acknowledges demand for stylish yet technical apparel.
Including jackets, shorts, leggings and crop tops, the first collection featuring a monochrome design will launch in July, the second floral printed collection will debut in August.
Speaking about the project Tisci revealed “It was a little bit of a difficult process because to make something that is very dynamic, to do sport and to do activity, and make it strongly recognizable – a fashion statement – is not easy.”
For Nike, the challenge is to grow sales to $7 billion by 2017, a target they hope to hit by successfully embracing both fashion and functionality.