Nike ramped up its investments in adaptive footwear technology with a pair of January releases.
The athletic brand dropped an updated version of its headline-grabbing Adapt BB self-lacing smart shoe and a reconstructed Air Max III silhouette fitted with adaptive FlyEase technology on the same day earlier this month.
The updated Adapt BB, now called the Adapt BB 2.0, features a number of quality of life improvements that attempt to address some of the shortcomings of the original release while offering an aesthetic upgrade as well.
“The refining of fit continues in the Nike Adapt BB 2.0, evolving the design principles of its predecessor to improve on-court play, while retaining the spirit of the tech’s underlying magic: the thrill of a glimpse into the future,” Nike said in a statement.
Some athletes trying on the self-lacing smart shoe for the first time questioned the original Adapt BB’s lack of bounce, Nike said. In response, Nike designers incorporated the same Air Zoom Turbo cushion found in NBA superstar Kyrie Irving’s basketball sneaker line. This creates “a highly responsive cushioning platform,” according to the brand, without interfering with the self-lacing mechanism.
Additionally, designers looked to add more “pop” to the shoe’s gait by adding height to the midsole stack to improve movement when transitioning from heel to toe, Nike said.
“Another area of focus was easier entry into the shoe,” the brand said. “By removing the Flyknit shroud, opening up the collar and integrating a stretchable ballistic mesh throughout the upper, designers made putting on the shoe simpler.”
Visual changes, such as a pixellated swoosh and a concave clip where the buttons rest, complete the new changes for the 2020 release of the Nike Adapt BB.
Memphis Grizzlies rookie point guard Ja Morant debuted the shoe on court a day before its official announcement on Jan. 21 in a game against the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Nike Adapt BB 2.0 will be available for sale on Feb. 16.
In addition to the Adapt BB, the Air Max III also joined Nike’s FlyEase family, now known as the Air Max 90 FlyEase.
Based on the design principles of its original 1990 release, the newest Air Max release combines funky, retro styling with an all-new collapsible heel entry system that can benefit both those with disabilities and casual sneaker wearers.
What’s more, the Air Max 90 FlyEase is only the second collaboration between Tinker Hatfield, legendary Nike designer and creator of the Air Max III, and his brother Tobie Hatfield, the creator of the original FlyEase technology.
“It’s not often you get a second shot at taking another swing at trying to do something even better,” Tinker Hatfield said. “We wanted to respect both sides of this equation, which is to do something fresh and new and important with retro design—an older design—and not change it too much.”
To activate the FlyEase features, wearers set and tie their laces on the first wear. Then, they can step into the collapsible heel with ease from that point forward as the heel will snap back into place each time once the proper fit is secured.
Nike has created more than 20 FlyEase styles like the Air Max 90 FlyEase since the technology’s release.
The new silhouette will be available internationally on March 9 in both adult and children’s sizing.