By this time, you might have already seen Jimmy Fallon's video where he talks about pitching a "step-lock" shoe design to Nike. The idea was that a person would literally step into what looks like an unhinged shoe and lock it into place, without any need to use the hands. Little did he know that the shoe company had been engineering the footwear for several years already.
In February, Nike officially introduced Go FlyEase, its first-ever hands-free shoe line.
According to a YouTube video the company uploaded, the inspiration for the prototype came from a "busted up" shoe with surgical tape wrapped around it. A tensioner (designer and innovator Haley Toelle calls it a giant rubber band) holds tension on the shoe in both the open and closed positions.
"The original concept for this shoe was to support our adaptive athletes better," Haley notes.
An article on Fast Company shared that in 2008, then Nike CEO Mark Parker actually asked one of his leading designers to create a shoe for one of their employees who "had suffered a stroke and lost the use of one hand". This shoe eventually transformed into the current version of FlyEase.
In 2012, a teen with cerebral palsy, Matthew Walzer, wrote to Nike to plead for PWD-friendly shoes. He was later asked to collaborate with Nike for the design.
The Nike Go FlyEase, which costs $120 or around P5,770, is set to be rolled out gradually in 2021.