There are sports shoes, and then there are the truly smart sports shoes. Nike has unveiled the Adapt BB basketball shoe, and this isn’t any other footwear that you may buy otherwise for indulging in the sport. First up, Nike is doing away with the need to tie your shoelaces. But then again, the Adapt BB is more about smartening up the fit and customization aspects. The key aspect is that it connects with the Nike Adapt app for smartphones. This enables Nike Adapt, a platform which uses the advanced power-lacing system, to control the fit of the shoe.
“We picked basketball as the first sport for Nike Adapt intentionally because of the demands that athletes put on their shoes. During a normal basketball game the athlete’s foot changes and the ability to quickly change your fit by loosening your shoe to increase blood flow and then tighten again for performance is a key element that we believe will improve the athlete’s experience,” says Eric Avar, Nike VP Creative Director of Innovation.
When you slip your foot into the Nike Adapt BB shoe, there is a custom motor and a gear train that senses the tension needed by the foot and adjusts the fit accordingly to keep the foot snug. This is to prevent foot roll inside the shoe during movement, which can be uncomfortable as well as dangerous. Nike says that the tensile strength of the underfoot lacing mechanism can exert 32 pounds of force to secure the foot throughout a range of movement. Incidentally, this is the force rating of a standard parachute cord as well. The Adapt BB is using the FitAdapt tech extensively, and this is where you use your smartphone app to customize the fit of the shoe without having to manually do it or even touch the shoe.
Nike says that they will continually update the firmware of the Adapt BB shoe via the Nike Adapt app, to add new modes and improve the fit mechanism. Nike has confirmed a forthcoming feature, which will suggest different fit modes and tightness settings for warm-ups as well. “We’ve finally added firmware to footwear, letting us continuously improve the product you’ve already bought,” says Michael Donaghu, Nike’s VP of Innovation, in an official post.
Customization is another key feature of the Adapt BB shoe. On that front, there are two LEDs on the bottom of each shoe, and the lighting colours for these can also be customized using the Nike Adapt app.
The upper's outer black shell is made of high-tenacity Flyknit material, also seen in many other Nike shoes till date. The inner white shell is a QuadFit mesh for a fit that adapts to the contours of the foot, for a snug fit. The midsole features Cushlon foam, which doesn’t need any unnecessary boost for cushioning comfort as well as responsiveness to every foot landing and movement.
Nike suggests that the batteries in the shoe, which power the motor, the gear train, connectivity with the phone and the LEDs, will last around 14 days. The company will ship the Adapt BB with the charging pad to charge these batteries up again.
The new Adapt BB sneakers will launch next month, and will be priced at $350 (around Rs24,800). The exact India pricing and availability details are awaited.