The dream of sneakerheads who happened to love the sequel to Back to the Future has finally come true. Decades after Tinker Hatfield envisioned self-lacing Nikes for the 1989 movie Back to the Future II, the technology has finally reached a retail shoe Nike will deliver to the basketball-playing masses.
Nike debuted the Adapt BB on Tuesday, the first self-lacing basketball shoe ever produced. The Nike Adapt 1.0 released in 2016, but the Adapt BB’s are the first performance sneaker from Nike to feature the self-lacing technology, and they’re ready for on-court use. The release of the self-lacing shoe came with the news that Boston Celtics guard Jayson Tatum would debut them on the NBA court, starting against Toronto on Wednesday night.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” Tatum told ESPN in a story about the Adapt BBs. “Hearing about a shoe with all this technology and no laces, I didn’t know what it was going to look like. It really surprised me. It looked a lot better than I thought it would, and it felt great — that was most important.”
The self-lacing system works like this: instead of traditional laces, the shoe has a series if interwoven cables, which can be controlled with sliding bars on the Nike Adapt app. There are also buttons on the side of the shoe that can toggle tightening or loosening of the cables. A small motor in the shoe powers the mechanism, which provides different levels of support in different parts of the shoe. The Adapt BB also comes with a charging mat, because charging your sneakers is a thing you need to do now.
The Adapt BB isn’t cheap — listed at $350 — but the technology to actually make a self-lacing shoe obviously factors into that. That they went from MAG prototype — which Michael J. Fox got a pair of — to retail shoe with that technology in just over three years is pretty impressive in and of itself, and the $350 list price is a significant drop from the $720 the Adapt 1.0’s cost in 2016.
The shoe drops on February 17 for the rest of us, but it adds a bit of extra intrigue to one of the biggest regular season NBA games in the East this season. It will be interesting to see how the performance shoe holds up against the Raptors, and whether the NBA will let him tinker on his smartphone on the bench if the fit isn’t quite right.