This week, Nike debuted its latest design, the Go FlyEase Hands-Free sports shoe which was built with accessibility in mind.
The wearer can get in and out of the shoe without using their hands as the trainer has no laces or velcro – in their place is a “bi-stable hinge that enables the shoe to be secure in fully open and fully closed states”.
While the design looks cool, the inspiration that prompted this design is even better.
According to FastCompany, the original prototype was designed for a Nike employee who had suffered a stroke.
Even still, the entire launch is a win for accessibility in design.
In 2012, Matthew Walzer, a US teenager with cerebral palsy, wrote to the sportswear brand and retail giant, asking for an accessible shoe design for those who struggle with tying laces.
Nike subsequently invited him to collaborate in the design of the Nike FlyEase technology in 2015.
Nike said in a statement that the shoes translate to serving the broadest range of active lifestyles possible from an athlete, to a parent with their hands full.
The shoes are set to launch later this year to Nike Members exclusively first, before rolling out to stores worldwide.
Since the announcement, users have taken to Twitter to share their excitement:
— Steven Moran (@_stevenmoran) February 4, 2021
Looks like someone on the product team decided to actually watch how customers put on and take off their shoes and designed for a better experience … GENIUS https://t.co/asRzGzapQg
— Maggie Norris (@MagNorris) February 1, 2021
You see fly kicks, I see a fantastic disability win!
Nike made Flyease technology after one of their first employees had a stroke and wasn’t able to tie his own shoes after.
Flyease is both dope and for the people. https://t.co/evYKZiJM0U
— Black guy fly (he/him) (@lojukwu) February 1, 2021
Before anyone jumps to criticize this for it's "laziness," instead think about how THIS is what accessibility can look like, & how this could benefit people with disabilities https://t.co/u1HKc5vYgM
— I'm Not Wearing Pants (@PikaChulita) February 1, 2021
Disability design for the win!
In 2012, Matthew Walzer, a teen with cerebral palsy, wrote to Nike asking for athletic shoes for disabled people. Nike invited him to collaborate in the design of the original adaptive Nike FlyEase shoe. https://t.co/0S3cAUhCCY
— Jaipreet Virdi (@jaivirdi) February 1, 2021
— Samantha Fowler is Staying Home (@fowlersamanthaa) February 2, 2021