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“Disability Design For The Win!”: Here Are Nike’s New Sneakers That Require No Hands
194points
Design, Fashion1 year ago

“Disability Design For The Win!”: Here Are Nike’s New Sneakers That Require No Hands

We spend a big chunk of our lives sleeping. On average, a third of it. Now, likewise, we spend quite a bit of our lives in shoes as well. Granted, it’s not a third of it, but a significant part regardless. So, it goes without saying that shoes have to be designed in a way that would not hinder our lives.

One of the biggest innovators in shoes—Nike—has come out with a pair of sneakers that, for the regular folk, are a convenience, but for those with disabilities, are somewhat of a lifesaver.

Sure, we had lace-less shoes for a while, but now they got even better all thanks to Nike

Image credits: Nike

Meet Matthew Walzer, a now 24-year-old man who was born prematurely with underdeveloped lungs that subsequently led to cerebral palsy—a permanent movement disorder that has made any learning curve that much steeper, especially when striving for self-sufficiency and individuality.

So, back in summer of 2012, when he was 16—still a junior in high school, but already thinking and planning ahead for the college years—Matthew Walzer decided to write the following to Nike:

“My dream is to go to the college of my choice without having to worry about someone coming to tie my shoes every day. I’ve worn Nike basketball shoes all my life. I can only wear this type of shoe, because I need ankle support to walk. At 16 years old, I am able to completely dress myself, but my parents still have to tie my shoes. As a teenager who is striving to become totally self-sufficient, I find this extremely frustrating and, at times, embarrassing.”

Nike is coming out with a type of Go FlyEasy sneakers that bend in the middle, making sure you can just kick into them hands-free

Image credits: Nike

Because of this bend, it’s easier to shove the foot in and the heel won’t graze the back of the shoe

Image credits: Nike

Nike reacted. With Walzer as the inspiration behind it, the shoe innovator came out with the Nike FlyEasy. This was a sneaker design made specifically for people who have difficulty putting on their shoes.

But it didn’t stop there as one thing led to the other and this particular design evolved into the Nike Go FlyEasy, a type of lace-less shoe that has an unconventional-looking forced bend in the middle.

Now, why is this important? That bend in the middle may look like the shoe has seen better days, but it actually adapts it in a way for people to be able to just shove their foot in and step on it to put it on. No bending over or hands required.

The original intent with FlyEasy was to make shoes more accessible and easy to use for disabled athletes

Image credits: Nike

A lad with cerebral palsy named Matthew Walzer was the inspiration behind the original FlyEasies

Image credits: Nike

In short, when not worn, it looks like your typical sneaker, except it’s bent in the middle of the sole. There’s a rubber band wrapped around it to make sure the shoe always bends when you take it off by stepping on the back, but also lets the shoe even itself out once you put it on by simply stepping into it.

Some say they look ridiculous—like shoes that have seen better days and broke in half, and even the designers admit it—but they are very much functional.

And, while the original intent of the Go FlyEasy was to make things easier for the disabled, it wasn’t long until this idea translated into convenience for everyone else—moms who have their hands full all the time, people suffering from obesity, or just fast-paced or even lazy people.

But, the design was soon one-upped by Nike and now it bends, making sure you wouldn’t have to

Image credits: Nike

Image credits: Nike

The shoes are still a novelty, having been announced yesterday, February 1st by Nike themselves, but people are already talking about them on Twitter, Reddit, and elsewhere, hyping them up with tens to hundreds of thousands of views and likes.

Nike themselves have also come out with a Behind The Design video, elaborating on how the novel shoe design came to be.

The shoes are said to retail at $120, and will become available for select consumers in mid-February

Image credits: Nike

Here are the other two color designs that are planned to be available upon launch

Image credits: Nike

Image credits: Nike

It is said that the new Go FlyEasy sneakers will go for $120 for select members starting mid-February, which is on the cheaper end of the regular FlyEasy price range, which varies between $100 and $220.

Nike also released a Behind the Design video elaborating on the new Go FlyEasy sneakers

Image credits: Nike

What are your thoughts on this? Will you be buying these, and will it be for just convenience or because it will mitigate a condition you have? Let us know in the comment section below!

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Kevin Camp
Community Member
1 year ago

Awesome! Do something nice for people with a serious disability, make the shoe for $3, sell it for $120.

Logic and Reason
Community Member
1 year ago

Epipens (life saving medication) cost about $30 to make, but are sold for ten times that and those are the cheap ones. Regardless of the production cost, Nike has to pay the designers, marketers, product testers, etc. Aim your anger at pharma companies and not athletic wear producers.

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Boopie Dew
Community Member
1 year ago

I think I'm really proud of Nike for this. I think it was done out of a want to help ppl that need it. I think they spent a lot of time on research and prototypes. Yes, hopefully there will be some help in the purchasing or discounts of these shoes for ppl who need them. Maybe even be covered or discounted by medical insurance.

David Retsler
Community Member
1 year ago

I highly doubt they're covered by the "profit uber alles" insurance companies. Maybe in countries other than the US but not here.

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Bobert Robertson
Community Member
1 year ago

I can see these selling out to the sneaker heads before those who even need them can get them

shado
Community Member
1 year ago

as it is with ALL 'trendy' footwear (I too fell victim to LA Gear and Reebok in the day)

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Kevin Camp
Community Member
1 year ago

Awesome! Do something nice for people with a serious disability, make the shoe for $3, sell it for $120.

Logic and Reason
Community Member
1 year ago

Epipens (life saving medication) cost about $30 to make, but are sold for ten times that and those are the cheap ones. Regardless of the production cost, Nike has to pay the designers, marketers, product testers, etc. Aim your anger at pharma companies and not athletic wear producers.

Load More Replies...
Boopie Dew
Community Member
1 year ago

I think I'm really proud of Nike for this. I think it was done out of a want to help ppl that need it. I think they spent a lot of time on research and prototypes. Yes, hopefully there will be some help in the purchasing or discounts of these shoes for ppl who need them. Maybe even be covered or discounted by medical insurance.

David Retsler
Community Member
1 year ago

I highly doubt they're covered by the "profit uber alles" insurance companies. Maybe in countries other than the US but not here.

Load More Replies...
Bobert Robertson
Community Member
1 year ago

I can see these selling out to the sneaker heads before those who even need them can get them

shado
Community Member
1 year ago

as it is with ALL 'trendy' footwear (I too fell victim to LA Gear and Reebok in the day)

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