Sneakers are great. Problem is, those laces come loose every now and again, requiring you to bend down and tie them in a knot. It’s an annoyance we all live with. If you don’t want to put up with that, you can opt for a slip-on instead, since you’ll only need to bend down whenever you’re putting it on. Apparently, that’s still too much bending over for some people. That’s why the Nike GO FlyEase, a purely hands-free pair of sneakers, exists.
No, it’s not a slip-on footwear with an open heel. Instead, it’s a standard-looking sneaker, complete with a heel counter, so you can run, jump, and go about your day without having to worry about kicking the shoe off accidentally, all while being able to slip on and off without the need to pry the heel tab to accommodate the back of your foot.
We know, you’re probably thinking the Nike GO FlyEase has a loose heel section that will allow you to wiggle your foot in like everyone tries to do with their slip-ons. That’s not the case here. Instead, it’s endowed with a unique design that makes it possible to slip your foot inside with the same ease as an open-back shoe, without actually having an open heel section. Basically, it looks like a regular pair of laceless running sneakers, complete with a secure heel section, so it won’t accidentally fly off at any point throughout your day.
Specifically, the footwear uses a bi-stable hinge mechanism on the sole that allows the heel section to fold down, essentially turning it into an open back shoe (you know, just like your favorite clogs), so you can slip your feet inside in a cinch. Once your foot’s in, stepping on the sole should fold the hinge back into a level position, putting the back sole and the heel counter in place. It’s a clever design, with the hinge allowing the shoe to hold securely in both open and closed positions.
The Nike GO FlyEase uses an elastic tensioner band on the midsole to keep the two hinged sections lined up the whole time, so the sole doesn’t accidentally fold down while you’re on the move. So how do you fold down the hinged sections without using your hands? We’re guessing you’re supposed to use your feet, since that action should be easy enough you don’t really need the precise control of a palm with a thumb and four fingers. At any rate, this is a really cool element – one we will likely see Nike implement in far more footwear going forward.
Can you use this thing as a running shoe or a gym shoe? We doubt it. It still has a hinged sole, after all, and that could accidentally fold down when you’re making intense physical movements. Still, we imagine people will be wearing this for all sorts of stuff when it comes out, so we’re looking forward to how the design will hold up to different types of applications.
The Nike GO FlyEase will be available exclusively to members of Nike’s subscription program for $120, with broader availability coming out later in the year.