The Go FlyEase is Nike’s first hands-free shoe — and a win for PWDs

Feb 4, 2021

YES, it looks undeniably cool. But beyond the initial wow factor, consider the Go FlyEase a win for persons with disability.

By now, you may have already seen the Nike Go FlyEase, which was unveiled by the Swoosh earlier this month. As the GIF shows, its unique “bi-stable” hinge design locks onto your feet the moment you step on it.

via GIPHY

That means this shoe requires no laces, straps, or even hands to put it on.

Tinker Hatfield, the legendary designer behind the Air Jordans, said of the Go FlyEase: “It’s our first hands-free shoe."

The Go FlyEase actually started as a prototype for an employee who suffered a stroke and could not use one hand, according to Fast Company’s Mark Wilson. In the thirteen years they spent turning that idea into a fully-fledged sneaker, Nike realized that they could make a shoe that was designed for the rarest use cases — in this case, people who could not use their hands to tie a shoe — but also appeal to everybody.

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    It’s an inspiring case of inclusive design. “The original concept behind this shoe was to support our adaptive athletes better. And we just quickly, throughout the process, found that this shoe was really universal," said a Nike designer in a brand video.

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    Back in 2012, Matthew Walzer, who suffers from cerebral palsy, wrote a letter to Nike begging for athletic shoes for PWD. He was later invited to collaborate on the design of the original FlyEase. On the announcement of the Go FlyEase, he lauded Nike again.

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    "The Flyease is for people of all abilities. Remarkable that one letter almost nine years ago continues to bring about so much change," he wrote on Twitter, tagging it #DisabledLivesMatter.

    So, how does the shoe work?

    When not worn, the bi-stable hinge that’s built onto the outsole tilts the shoe up around 30 degrees, just waiting for you to slip your feet in. Step onto the shoe, and your weight snaps the hinge shut, locking around your foot with a futuristic sound effect (Mark Wilson described it as a “fwummp”).

    Need to take it off? Just do what you always do with your shoes: don’t use your hands. Scrape the back off the shoe with your other foot to activate the “kickstand heel”, unhinge the shoe, and step off.

    Nike will release the Go FlyEase in a “gradual rollout” all throughout the year. It is pricedat $120, or around P5,770.

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