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Nike Files Patents for Smart Sneakers and Flyknit Customization

Nike isn’t wasting any time getting started on new products for 2016. The company issued two patents at the end of last year: a smart sneaker and a patent for a computer-based program for customization of footwear and, specifically, Nike’s Flyknit sneakers.

Nike’s patent submitted on Dec. 24 is for a computer-based system for designing footwear, and it focuses specifically on the knit footwear uppers, suggesting that the program will be used for a customization feature for Nike’s Flyknit designs.

The patent reads, “The footwear design interface may be configured to simulate the layout and/or operation of a knitting machine to provide the user with the impression of physically designing and/or manufacturing an article of footwear.”

The system will allow users to choose a last, color, and heather pattern. There will also be modules for time and cost estimation, and the system will be able to check on the availability of materials users choose for their designs.

Nike submitted a second patent for a smart sneaker on Dec. 29. A diagram shows a small computer that can fit into the outsole of a shoe. The patent states, “In some examples the device may provide options for defining and recording athletic activity performed by the user.”

The plans suggest that the shoe will be able to measure distance, time, pace, calories and workout type. The shoe will keep track of runs, goals, challenges and maps and facilitate social interactions with shared goals and results.

Nike declined a request for further information from Quartz, saying only that the brand has “a strong history of innovation and leadership in footwear design and development.”