American athletic apparel giant Nike has filed a patent for what appears to be a self-lacing shoe.
Officially referred to as an “automatic lacing system,” the innovation seems destined for the company’s iconic, tech-filled Air Jordan line of basketball sneakers.
The patent reads as follows:
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.
That’s right: push a button and the shoe laces tighten around your feet.
Here’s more info from the official filing:
In one aspect, the invention provides an automatic lacing system for an article of footwear, comprising: a sole including a cavity; a motor disposed in the cavity; the motor including a driveshaft; the driveshaft including at least one gear; at least one belt engaged with the at least one gear at an intermediate portion of the belt; a yoke member connected to the at least one belt at an attachment portion of the at least one belt; a plurality of straps attached to the yoke member, the plurality of straps being configured to adjust an upper of the article of footwear; and where the straps can be automatically moved between a closed position and a loosened position by activating the motor.
Pretty neat stuff, although my initial question for such an invention is how the company will balance form and features — that is, a technical shoe must be lightweight, too.
Wondering where all that power comes from, by the way? You guessed right: an on-board battery, which will be charged by either a USB or mini-USB port.
Dunking a basketball may never be the same again.