Nike designs hands-free trainers
The Nike GO FlyEase is the latest evolution of the accessible concept.
US sportswear and apparel giant Nike has released accessible, hands-free shoes designed for people with limited motor functions or reduced mobility, as well as others who may struggle to put footwear on and take it off. ‘GO FlyEase’ is the latest evolution of the FlyEase concept which was born in 2012, when a cerebral palsy sufferer, who was struggling to tie and untie his shoes as a result of having flexibility in only one hand, wrote a letter to Nike about his difficulty. This was passed to designer Tobie Hatfield, who had been working with Special Olympians and Paralympians on similar challenges.
A three-year project in which Hatfield worked with disabled people resulted in a wrap-around slide fastener solution that opened up the back of the shoe, making it easier for the wearer’s foot to slide in and out. At the same time, the system provided sufficient lockdown and eliminated the need for traditional lace security.
The new ‘GO’ version features what is described as a bi-stable hinge that secures the shoe in fully open and fully closed states in a smooth motion. On donning the footwear, the hinged heel section is pulled into place by a flexible tensioner band surrounding the shoe. This holds the GO FlyEase securely on the foot and allows the wearer to walk away. When removing the shoe, pressing down on a heel lip permits the other foot to open up the footwear and step out.
While this new style is particularly suited for individuals with limited mobility, it may also be useful to people with busy and active lifestyles. The Nike GO FlyEase will be initially available to selected Nike members, with a wider roll-out planned for later this year.
This article was originally published on page 44 of the April 2021 issue of SATRA Bulletin.