Nike HyperAdapt Hackables – Making tracks online and off

The launch of Nike’s HyperAdapt shoes is really a Back to the Future II moment. After all, who – at least from my generation – hasn’t seen the movie where Marty McFly’s shoes automatically wrap around his feet.

Really cool. As Nike puts it, an “automated, nearly symbiotic relationship between the foot and shoe.”

But is that all? What about all those other options? While the movie – unfortunately in some ways – was rather prescient in its look at the future, there are other ways where society has gone much further in terms of connectability than Marty and Doc could possibly have imagined.

Self-tying laces are so limited

A “nearly symbiotic relationship between the foot and shoe” includes potentially so much more than the usual footwear role of preventing bruises and blisters. I bet Nike is aiming much higher.
Think of all the additional options that could come along with HyperAdapt running shoes: Shoes that automatically connect to the home WiFi network, make sure that your back door is automatically unlocked when within a 10-meter range, ensure that a freshly brewed cup of coffee is waiting, and upload the cardiovascular report on your workout.

That’s a lot, and I’m not even going to mention the security risks of hacked shoes in this fast-paced IoT world. When I was robbed many years ago – and the perpetrators took the shoes right off my feet – I never would have dreamed that this event could someday be considered a security breach.

This vision is barely a half-step ahead of reality

While HyperAdapt shoes are Ronaldo cool, they are just a technology carrier in this new world – not the final product. At least in Nike’s home US market, they are only available to people in the Nike+ App ecosystem. Yes, the new Nike+ App, where members can get customized training tips, product tips personalized for them, and much, much more. Put the app and shoes together and it’s clear Nike is aiming to provide a much closer relationship between movement and life – not just shoes and feet. Don’t hold your breath for that cappuccino, but remember – Back to the Future I, II, and III were just the start.

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As a PR Consultant and journalist, Frink has covered IT security issues for a number of security software firms, as well as provided reviews and insight on the beer and automotive industries (but usually not at the same time). Otherwise, he’s known for making a great bowl of popcorn and extraordinary messes in a kitchen.