Nike is pushing the envelope of shoe technology further with today’s announcement of the Go FlyEase, a contact-less $120 shoe for both athletic and everyday use.
The core innovation here is a so-called bistable hinge that lets the shoe move between two positions: an upright one in which the inner sole of the shoe sits at a roughly 30-degree angle so you can easily slip your foot in, and the collapsed position in which the outer layer sits snugly around the inner one while you walk or run. It is effectively two shoes in one, with the inner shoe popping out as needed.
The concept comes from the standard motion most people make when taking off slip-on shoes like Crocs, slippers, or plain old loose sneakers that involves using one foot to pull down on the heel of the other, according to Fast Company. With the Go FlyEase’s “kickstand heel,” this motion lets you slip out of the shoes while simultaneously sliding the hinge to prop them up. The whole process is hands-free, Nike says.
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There’s more than just the aesthetic and laziness appeal here, too. Nike designed these with accessibility in mind, meaning they’re great options for people who might otherwise have trouble bending over to tie their shoes or struggle with the act of tying shoelaces. The FlyEase brand was born from Nike designer Tobie Hatfield, who’s spent years at Nike developing ever-more ingenious accessibility-first shoes at the request of people with disabilities. This effort has occasionally produced some flashy, high-profile products like the self-lacing Back to the Future-inspired shoes, the Nike Mag, and more modern self-lacing variants like the HyperAdapt 1.0 and the Adapt BB.
Fast Company, which tried the Go FlyEase and says the shoes are indeed mighty comfy, also aptly describes the shoes as “the ultimate COVID footwear.” Frankly, I’m already obsessing over snagging a pair — not just because they look quite nice aesthetically, but also because they really do seem like the perfect pair of shoes for a leisurewear age when going out means doing the bare minimum required to leave my remote work bunker of an apartment for an errand or some fresh air.
Nike says the shoe will go on sale starting on February 15th “for select Nike Members,” although it’s unclear how many units will be made available in the first run. The company says “broader consumer availability” is planned for later in 2021.