By Chris Scott Barr

We’ve written about the shoes from Back to the Future II on more than one occasion. Mostly because it’s one of the few “futuristic” technologies that might have a chance of being made by 2015. A little while back we showed you a custom shoe that was made using an Arduino board. It was cool, but not exactly practical for wearing. So who do we look to for a real pair of these self-lacing shoes? Nike.

Yes, the company that “made” those sneakers in the movie have actually patented the idea. Specifically, they’ve received a patent for:

An article of footwear with an automatic lacing system is disclosed. The automatic lacing system provides a set of straps that can be automatically opened and closed to switch between a loosened and tightened position of the upper. The article further includes an automatic ankle cinching system that is configured to automatically adjust an ankle portion of the upper.

The patent goes on to describe the means by which the footwear will be powered. It seems that they’ve chosen to use a pair on induction chargers with a docking station to recharge them. It makes sense, as you’ll probably be putting them back in the same spot every night. So who wants to take bets on whether they actually get these puppies out in the next five years?

[ WIPO ] VIA [ Gearfuse ]


  1. What's next for Nike, patenting a time machine? I guess the movie is not considered as prior art with the USPTO.

    I visited Nike HQ in 2001 looking to partner with them on some applications for technology. I know they were interested in energy harvesting. Using the action of walking to generate and store electricity.

  2. I wouldn't trust such a footwear though.
    What if for some reason the batteries fail e.g. short circuit, the electronics fails to leave a reserve charge for unlacing or just plain explode/burn. What if the the lacing mechanism jams or simply breaks? And how about the horrendous amount of pollution this will create. The manufacturing will require a lot more bits and pieces plus shoes are already a highly disposable item.

    On the other hand I can see this already being made as an expensive novelty item…