Teardown of Nike Self-Lacing Shoes

There used to be a time, before running shoes had blinking LEDs and required placing on an inductive charger overnight, when we weren’t worried about whether or not we could dump the firmware running underneath our heels. Those are not the times that we’re living in. Nike came out with a shoe that solves the age-old problem of lacing: the HyperAdapt. And [Telind Bench] has torn them apart.

img_0059Honestly, we’re kinda “meh” about what’s inside. The “laces” are actually tubes with a small Kevlar-like cable running inside, and the whole thing torques up using a small, geared DC motor. That’s kinda cool. (We have real doubts about [Telind]’s guess of 36,000 RPM for the motor speed.) But in an age when Amazon gives away small WiFi-enabled devices for a few bucks as a loss-leader to get you to order a particular brand of laundry detergent, we’re not so dazzled by the technology here, especially not at the price of $720 for a pair of freaking shoes.

The only really interesting bit is the microcontroller, which is over-powered for the job of turning a wheel when a keyboard-style sensor is pressed by your heel. What is Nike thinking? We want to see the firmware, and we’d like it reverse engineered. What other chips are on board? Surely, they’ve got an accelerometer and are measuring your steps, probably tying in with an exercise app or something. Does anyone have more (technical) detail about these things? Want to make a name for yourself with a little stunt hacking?

47 thoughts on “Teardown of Nike Self-Lacing Shoes

  1. Remember “The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes”? Now it’s “The Computer Is Tennis Shoes”.

    When I first heard the title of that old movie, I thought it was “The Computer War Tennis Shoes”. Now that’s a movie I’d like to see.

    1. How’d I miss this comment? opportunity lost but I’ll comment anyway:

      Tennis shoes or Ten Issues?
      Four candles or Fork handles?

      Thus a movie that would be a watch-bait/click-bait/purchase-bait by sounding awesome would be called:

      The Computer War: Ten Issues

  2. I fear for the future of mankind, especially when someone with money to make and no sensible ideas notices the amount of time spent, undoing your fly, getting your cock out, pissing, putting your cock back, doing your fly up, washing your hands and finally drying them.
    but hey, in 20 years time there will be a comment that reads,…….. it’s all very well having this automated flyundoingcockgettingandwashingandputtingbackflyredoing thing, but how do I know when I need a piss? Enter, wearable electronics, just let something fruity tell you when to eat shit and piss!

        1. Agreed, grammatically correct.

          You see, in the future… IOTs may (or may not) ask you to:
          eat shit (Literal): Pick up excrement off the floor and eat it.
          eat shit (Metaphoric): Find junk-food and eat it (i.e. McPuke)

          Oh and I write as though spoken and/or thought: The use of natural signature writing style (You’d not know it was me if I didn’t).
          That is commas act as breakers and pauses in sentences, and full-stops act as a subject differentiator (to an extent. Brackets are usually side information and/or thoughts that could be skipped over but can sometimes give the reader some idea of what I am trying to say).

          Also compound words that are built on the same logic as the old “big words” whom were (usually) based on latin era compositions are an acceptable form of communication (even if not in any dictionary, as long as it conveys what it sounds like)

          Thus the original comment conveys (to me) a literal and metaphorical eating of shit.

          Though IMHO Hindi should be a second language taught throughout the UK School system (as mandatory) and then the burden of English A before E and so-on should be forgotten to the winds of the past.

    1. There are medical conditions where people can’t tell if they need to go, or their body constantly tells them they need to go when in fact they don’t.
      So for those a device would actually be handy.

  3. What im mostly wondering is if they gave that lady something for her effort.
    She pmuch made the first actually working self-lacing-shoes the moment the bttf trademarks(?) lifted, and then said to be talking with Nike about actually mass producing them.

      1. Oh and in practice it’s not cool to have neatly laced shoes, so I think they should make some classical shoes with remote control for the elderly instead. And maybe supersized ones for the superfat who can’t reach their laces.

  4. I wonder how the TSA and international customs responds to these things.
    Especially since if you say ‘It’s auto lacing’ they will respond with ‘then why all the excess electronics and a microcontroller huh?’

    1. Yeah, because the TSA is really going to spend an hour pulling apart your shoes, then peel off the QR code, read the part number with a magnifying glass, and then look up the data sheet…

      1. TSA checks your shoes, if they find strange stuff in it like electronics AND a battery they will most likely separate you for further investigation. And they see the whole PCB in a scan I would expect, or after cutting them open.. (goodbye $700)

        I know I’d not chance it unless $700+ was nothing to me, but of course the only people buying these would be very rich people like artists and sports people for whom it actually is nothing.

  5. Ah, you all miss the point. While these are geared toward the millenniums, there’s a whole market for the elderly and disabled. Big bucks if you can reverse engineer the sneeks and figure out a way to do that with ordinary shoes. If you don’t agree, revisit this in 5 years from now.

  6. Just watched a show on the Netflixs about the guy who designed the original btf2 shoes for mr.fox and they talked about shoe design a fair amount. One of the biggest advantages to self laci g shoes is tension control. They talked about how nba players feet are totally shot early in their career because they wear their shoes a lot and they wart them very very tightly to maintain control on the floor. The Self lacing shoes are supposed to be able to sense your movement accurately to judge how tight of fit you need at that moment, and then be able to automatically relax when your at rest allowing optimum blood flow for recovery.
    My stab in the dark is that eventually you’ll be able connect them to an app to customize lase tightness for specific events.
    This is a lot bigger deal than helping grandp tie his own shoes. Is science..,

    1. Sounds like a quick partial solution would be to use buckles like on ski-boots. I usually run the middle buckle at the ankle too tight for continuous wear, but I can flip it up before getting on a lift, and flip it down in a couple of seconds after getting off.

  7. There’s a documentary on Netflix called Abstract: the art of design Season1 Ep2. About Tinker Hatfield and why he designed these shoes. There’s more to the shoe than just self-lacing.

  8. Why self-lacing shoes are pretty superfluous to your average per, I do wonder about automatic “traction control” shoes. Detects water: alters the the grip slightly to compensate. Very uneven surfaces: adjusts the treading (maybe the sole?) to protect the feet, and improve grip.
    Thoughts?

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