Athletic apparel and footwear giant Nike announced the Nike Adapt BB, a new self-lacing basketball shoe that continually adjusts to the wearer's fit need, accompanied by a mobile app and Adapt firmware to control the ongoing adjustments, according to a Nike News post.
The power-lacing feature relies on a customized motor and gear train that senses the amount of tension the wearer's foot requires at different times, and adjusts accordingly to maintain a snug fit. The wearer also can use a button on the shoe to tighten and loosen the laces.
Nike prepared the shoe for market by running a battery of tests, including having it perform 2,900 continuous self-lacing cycles from tight fit to loose, and submitting it to 300 miles of running.
This launch comes more than two years after Nike released its first self-lacing shoe, the HyperAdapt, as a very limited edition in September 2016, and almost exactly two years after the brand declared the $720 shoe a success story.
In early 2017 it seemed like shoppers were going to see more self-lacing shoe models from Nike fairly quickly. Instead, it looks like Nike took time to develop this follow-up by advancing the technology inside the shoe and building a broader FitAdapt platform around it, featuring continuously-updating firmware and app-based control functions. The shoe can tighten itself, but the platform behind the shoe also gives users much more control over what seems like a wider variety of fit settings.
Nike also fleshed out use cases for these shoes, including how the core features and functions might be employed when playing different sports. The Adapt BB is the first new "power-lacing" shoe in what sounds like will be a growing family. "As the FitAdapt system hones the quality of fit in basketball, the next step will be to bring FitAdapt to other sports and lifestyle products, each with unique demands for fit in different environments," the Nike release stated.
This time around, the price of the shoe is more manageable: $350 per pair vs. $720 per pair for the HyperAdapt. That may not make the Adapt-powered shoes completely mainstream, but it does mean that Nike, which has been experiencing a nice revenue growth spurt lately, is trying to reach a broader market beyond the "sneakerheads" who must have every limited edition no matter the cost.