Lifestyle brand Nike recently revealed a new shoe model, the Go FlyEase, with features aimed at streamlining the process of putting on a pair of shoes.
The new design, which was revealed Feb. 1, was presented in two colourways, multi-colour (the most prominently shown model) and a black alternative. What caught people’s eye the most, though, wasn’t the colour or look of the shoe but rather the addition of a nifty feature that looks straight out of the future.
The shoe essentially bends in half, rising up the middle, which is its default position when unworn. To put the shoes on, the wearer inserts the front of their food into the front half of the shoe, then brings their heel down which flattens out the bend and locks the shoe into place. When taking them off, the wearer simply presses down on the rear of the shoe with the other foot, “unlocking” the model and raising the middle again. The whole process, with all the bending, folding, and locking into place, looks more like a spaceship or a sports car than a shoe.
Despite the crazy look, the design is not what’s really being presented here. With the ease of putting these on (hence the name Go FlyEase) and no bending over or sitting down, these shoes could actually be very helpful to physically disabled people. Physical diseases and issues like cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy, or even just normal concerns like old age, are all examples of people that would most likely have an easier time putting these on than a normal pair. However, despite the innovation this shoe brings, it’s not the first time there’s been disability-accommodating footwear.
A quick Google search for “physically handicapped shoes” will bring back results of many websites and stores that sell accessible shoes, but most of them are zippered or strapped footwear. Although these would still be more accessible for a handicapped person than an ordinary pair of lace-ups, the design still requires having to adjust the shoes manually, requiring bending over or sitting down. The Nike shoes, on the other hand, can be fully put on and taken off with just the force of your foot, and for some, that could be huge.
These new Nike shoes are different from the rest in a few other ways, too. A huge brand making these is a big deal, and people who need shoes like this and don’t know what to get can simply look to one of the biggest brands in the world. Although the social media reception to the look of the shoe has been somewhat polarizing, there was still quite a bit of positive feedback, and at least compared to other options for disability-friendly shoes, these ones definitely have a unique look and aesthetic.
It makes sense that it’d be Nike to bring this concept more into the mainstream, as well. As a brand, they maintain a company image of inclusion and equality in activewear, and a large scale reveal and eventual release for a pair of accommodating shoes like this fits with that perfectly. There’s at least a decent chance of upcoming ad campaigns for these that will really focus on this angle.
Overall, the Nike Go FlyEase shoes are very exciting, and perhaps will inspire more disability-friendly footwear from Nike and elsewhere in the future. According to the Nike press release for this shoe, it is currently available for only select invited Nike members, but a larger release is slated for later in 2021.