Nike has designed the first-ever hands-free sneakers, GO FlyEase.
- They are accessible, empowering, and suitable for people of all abilities and ages.
- The inspiration for the GO FlyEase came from a letter written by a teenager with cerebral palsy in 2012.
- While some have accused Nike of promoting laziness, this design will help change the lives of millions of people.
Nike has designed hands-free sneakers for people of all abilities and ages.
There are no shoelaces, there are no velcro straps, there are no zippers. These “easy on, easy off” shoes are hands-free, accessible, and empowering. In a press release, the company explained the design of the new sneakers, GO FlyEase. To design the shoe, Nike used a “bi-stable hinge that enables the shoe to be secure in fully open and fully closed states”. If the smooth motion looks familiar to you, it is because it resembles the way many of us kick off our shoes. While some have accused Nike of promoting laziness, this design will actually help change the lives of millions of people. In fact, the inspiration for these hands-free sneakers came from a teenager with cerebral palsy.
In 2012, a 16-year-old boy with cerebral palsy wrote a letter to Nike.
Matthew Walzer explained that he was excited to go to college but there was one thing that would always hold him back: he could not tie his shoelaces. In a letter, Walzer wrote, “Out of all the challenges I have overcome in my life, there is one that I am still trying to master, tying my shoes.” The teenager explained his condition: “Cerebral palsy stiffens the muscles in the body. As a result I have flexibility in only one of my hands which makes it impossible for me to tie my shoes. My dream is to go to the college of my choice without having to worry about someone coming to tie my shoes every day.”
Everybody deserves to feel empowered, independent, and self-reliant.
Walzer continued his letter, writing that it is his belief that everyone should experience freedom and independence. “If Nike would design and produce basketball and running shoes with moderate support and some kind of closure system that could be used by everyone, Nike could create a shoe line that attracts people that face the same physical challenges I did and still do, yet it could still be possible for anyone to wear them,” he wrote. Immediately, Nike began to work on delivering the shoe line. According to Health, Nike first designed shoes with zippers. Three years later, they introduced the FlyEase line. Now, nine years after Walzer’s 2012 letter, they have delivered the perfect, hands-free shoe.
The design is not lazy. It is a dream come true.
Disability design for the win!
In 2012, Matthew Walzer, a teen with cerebral palsy, wrote to Nike asking for athletic shoes for disabled people. Nike invited him to collaborate in the design of the original adaptive Nike FlyEase shoe. https://t.co/0S3cAUhCCY
— Jaipreet Virdi (@jaivirdi) February 1, 2021
A little louder for the folks in the back:
If 👏🏻 you 👏🏻 design 👏🏻 with 👏🏻 disability 👏🏻 in 👏🏻 mind 👏🏻 you solve 👏🏻 for 👏🏻 everyone 👏🏻 https://t.co/zzKNp5tsOF
— Kara DeFrias (@karadefrias) February 1, 2021
Walzer himself commented on the FlyEase shoe as he tweeted:
#DisabledLivesMatter The Flyease is for people of all abilities. Remarkable that one letter almost nine years ago continues to bring about so much change. #NikeLetter https://t.co/L9qZ9dTwDd
— Matthew Walzer (@matthewwalzer24) February 1, 2021
The GO FlyEase sneakers will first be offered to Nike members exclusively.
Later this year, they are expected to retail for $120.