Whether clothing or footwear products, Nike is known for never being afraid to experiment with new technologies. The latest example is the company’s new Zoom Soldier 8, a gorgeous shoe that was designed for people facing disabilities – such as amputees and those who have suffered a stroke or cerebral palsy.
With the sneaker’s Flyease tech, which features an unusual zipper mechanism that ties around the heel, Nike’s made it easier for the disabled community to tie their shoes. Instead of having to use both hands to accomplish this task, something that may not be possible or easy for some, Flyease simplifies this by letting them rely on one hand to open or close the shoe.
|The Nike Flyease Journey from Swanson Studio on Vimeo.|
As Fast Company reports, Nike began development of the zipping system seven years ago. CEO Mark Parker made a special request to Senior Director of Athlete Innovation, Tobie Hatfield, after an employee had a stroke and lost movement on his right hand.
Despite Flyease being launched, though, Nike tells Fast Company that it will continue to research and improve the new mechanism. “We know we can continue to make improvements,” he said, “but we wanted to give access to those who need this sooner than later.”
“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.” – Matthew Walzer
But let’s hope that when the Soldier 8 Flyease launches, on July 16th, it ends up on the feet of people who could actually benefit from wearing the shoe. Here’s Nike’s main problem: resellers like to buy their sneakers and then post them on eBay at double, triple and sometimes quadruple the retail price — which is bad news for everyone.
When Matthew Walzer—a 16-year-old junior from Parkland, Florida—sent Mark Parker a letter in 2012, he could have never guessed that it would result in the Nike FLYEASE. Watch the full story.
|After Nike’s original employee Jeff Johnson suffered a stroke, their shoe designers began work on a new type of shoe to help not only Jeff, but all disabled individuals. Little did they know that a 16-year old boy with cerebral palsy was about to shape their work on this new design, and change the company forever. BB&T. Youtube Sep 9, 2016|
|The Flyease Story | Tobie Hatfield | HSC 2016. Nike’s Innovation Director Tobie Hatfield shares the story around the design of the new Nike Flyease shoes, which were created to help individuals with physical disabilities. Spheres and Nike are partnering together to bring these shoes to children living with physical disabilities in Gugulethu, South Africa. Spheres. Youtube Jul 7, 2016|
Nike puts an accessibility twist on its iconic Air Jordan in Engadget
The FlyEase Journey in Nike
Nike Is Making Revolutionary Sneakers for People With Special Needs in Complex
Matthew Walzer’s letter to Nike in Against All Odds