Back to the Future Self-Lacing Shoes Patented by Nike (Now Where is My Hoverboard?)

Mag Air

In 1985 one of the most exciting movies of the era hit the big screen, a science fiction comedy called Back to the Future in which Marty McFly (played by a young Michael J. Fox) is accidentally sent back to the past via an odd looking time traveling DeLorean. This movie, and the two sequels that followed, opened our minds to many technological wonders, futuristic items that many of us drooled over and wished for. Among them was a pair of self-lacing tennis shoes that, which a quick touch of a button, would lace themselves and conform to the wearer’s feet. Thanks to Nike, the future is now here.

Nike Mag Air

Nike unveils the “Marty McFly shoe”

In 2011 Nike spokesmen began leaving cryptic messages around the Internet and on social media networks like Twitter. The messages hinted at something big looming on the horizon. The first tweet consisted of a few short sentences about something coming soon, and Nike Mag Air ending with the phrase “No one should know too much about their own destiny.” It was later revealed that they mythical self-lacing tennis shoe had finally been made.

Before you get too excited, though, Nike made only a limited number of the shoes, dubbed the Nike Air Mag: 1,500 pairs, to be exact. Rather than sell the technologically advanced and extremely dream worthy sneaker, however, Nike later released a statement indicating that the shoes would be auctioned of on eBay, with all of the proceeds going directly to the Michael J. Fox Foundation. The auction ran for 10 days, with 150 pair being auctioned off each day. At the end of the auction period, Nike matched all the proceeds with a $50 million donation.

How the technology works

Nike Mag Air

According to the patent, the Nike Air Mag is a tennis shoe that provides and automatic lacing system for tennis shoes. This system is composed of a sole with a cavity, in which is placed a motor, driveshaft and gear. A yoke and belt are connected to the gear and driveshaft which, when activated, a series of straps are automatically adjusted on the upper portion of the tennis shoe.

The upper area of the shoe is made from reinforced mesh and the outer sole Is lined with LED panels that light up. The Nike Air Mag contains a rechargeable battery that can keep the LED lights lit up for at least 5 hours. An electroluminescent Nike logo in the strap also lights up, making the Nike Air Mag eerily similar to the space age shoes that Marty McFly wore in Back to the Future II. A few tweaks were made to the Air Mag, of course, in order to provide more comfort and support.

Buying the 2011 Nike Air Mag

Unfortunately since the Nike Air Mag was produced in very limited quantities, getting your hands on a pair will not be easy, or cheap. A few pairs are still listed for sale on eBay, but be prepared to pay a small fortune for them. With prices reaching in the thousands of dollars, the Air Mags are quite expensive shoes. But can you really put a price tag on something so cool? Now… where is my hoverboard?