In its latest bid to reach an underserved market, Nike debuted its new Nike Go FlyEase hands-free shoe on Monday. The shoe is designed for wearers to quickly put on and remove the shoe without needing to use their hands.
For now, the shoe is available on an invite-only basis for select Nike Members, but the brand plans to release the shoe to the public later this year, according to the company announcement.
The shoe uses a bi-stable hinge to keep it fully open or closed when wearers put on or take off the shoe. The company has implemented the technology behind the Nike Go FlyEase in other footwear for running, basketball and sportswear, the company said.
Nike's latest innovation addresses a market often ignored: adaptive clothing.
Nike noted in its announcement, though, that the Nike Go FlyEase is meant to serve a range of customers, from athletes to students and busy parents. Champion fencer Bebe Vio was among the few who had early access to the shoe.
"Usually I spend so much time to get in my shoes. With the Nike GO FlyEase, I just need to put my feet in and jump on it," Vio said. "The shoes are a new kind of technology, not only for adaptive athletes but for everyone's real life."
The activewear brand joins other companies in creating adaptive products. Last year, Zappos debuted its single and different size shoe test program to allow customers to buy shoes outside of the traditional pair to meet their needs. A 2019 Coresight Research report estimated that the adaptive apparel market could grow to $54.8 billion in the U.S. and $349.9 billion internationally by 2023.
Nike has been known for creating products to reach underserved markets, including the Pro Hijab and swim hijab, as well as a recent maternity line. Outside of these innovations, Nike has revamped its stores and grown its e-commerce sales. Nike's Go FlyEase release comes after the company reported its Nike Direct sales spiked 32% in the second quarter and announced plans to open 30 more stores.
Its store strategy has included testing several different concepts that put digital first. Last July, the company unveiled a new store concept called Nike Rise, which blends digital and in-store experiences. And last month, the company collaborated with retail experience agency Hovercraft Studio to create an in-store concept with an outdoor expedition feel.