The first thing that came to mind when I saw the Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 being revealed a few months ago in New York was “well, what does it sound like?” Well, thankfully Cristiano Ronaldo was around to answer that question for me.
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) March 16, 2016
Huh, that sounds awfully familiar. Even the light reminds me of something I saw last year. Hey, wait a minute…
— michaeljfox.org (@MichaelJFoxOrg) October 21, 2015
Earlier today, Wired released a feature (that I am insanely jealous of) on the story behind the Nike HyperAdapt and how much of it was born out of the Nike Mag. It goes in-depth into just how long Tinker Hatfield, Tiffany Beers, Mark Parker and Nike has been working on a shoe in the Tinker’s words “would essentially come alive when you put it on”. Spoiler: it was a long time, as you might expect from something as potentially game changing as the HyperAdapt.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the HyperAdapt and the Nike Mag have a lot in common. Anybody that is
fortunate rich enough to own a pair of both this year will probably see that the machinations of the shoe are one and the same. The difference is that while the Mag will feel antiquated – but still cool in a retro sort of way – the HyperAdapt will look and feel what we thought 2015 and 2016 would look and feel like in 1989 when we saw Back To The Future Part 2 for the first time. The future really is here now.
But another thought also crossed my mind when I saw the HyperAdapt. I thought about somebody very close to me who struggles to tie their shoes. I thought about Matthew Waltzer, the inspiration for the Nike LeBron Soldier 8 FlyEase, our 2015 Sneaker of the Year winner. I thought about the millions of people out there who suffer from life-altering ailments that prevent them from doing the simple things in life that we take for granted like tying shoes. Maybe they don’t need the zipper collar of the FlyEase to put on a pair of shoes but they need assistance in tying them. The HyperAdapt is another tool that has implications that reaches far beyond our needs as athletes or as sneakerheads. It can changes lives. So debuting it on a grand stage like today was very important.
It’s easy to get on Nike’s case for making shoes that some sneakerheads don’t care for. For them, it’s all about kicks that make them look and feel cool and that the whole reason the brand is the market leader is because of cool, not innovation. It’s the so-called echo chamber that doesn’t understand what the deal is and just want to see new shoes that look like old shoes. Well, the HyperAdapt isn’t for them and quite frankly, Nike probably doesn’t care; it’s for the rest of the world to see that the swoosh are doing things that can help people. Yes, Nike is a business first and foremost, but maybe somebody watching at home sees that there is hope for those in their lives that have disabilities or maybe they become inspired to do take the HyperAdapat and make it better. It’s not always about the product itself but the spark that results from seeing that product. That’s the power of the Nike platform that honestly no other brand in the world has and why I wish I could have been part of that Wired crew that got to go inside the Innovation Kitchen.