Introducing the Nike GO FlyEase! A brilliant hands-free shoe inspired by a teen with Cerebral Palsy.
Global (04 February 2021) – The marvel seen above is the Nike GO FlyEase! It’s intuitive — easy on, easy off — and evidence of how design, innovation and engineering can meet to answer an ambitious North Star: the creation of a hands-free shoe.
In 2012, Matthew Walzer, a 16-year-old with Cerebral Palsy, wrote a letter to Nike asking why they did not have athletic sneakers for people with disabilities.
For Walzer, tying his own shoes has been a major challenge in his life. So, he wrote a letter to Nike, explaining that it was his dream to go to college without worrying about someone having to tie his shoelaces day in and day out.
“My dream is to go to the college of my choice without having to worry about someone coming to tie my shoes every day. I’ve worn Nike basketball shoes all my life. I can only wear this type of shoe, because I need ankle support to walk. At 16 years old, I am able to completely dress myself, but my parents still have to tie my shoes. As a teenager who is striving to become totally self-sufficient, I find this extremely frustrating and, at times, embarrassing.”
Walzer’s letter inspired Nike designer Tobie Hatfield to create a shoe that would address his specific need.
“I worked with Matthew just as I would with any athlete. He was an absolute pleasure to work with,” Hatfield said.
Behind the shoe’s smooth motion is a bi-stable hinge that enables the shoe to be secure in fully open and fully closed states. This duality allows another signature detail: the Nike GO FlyEase tensioner. The tensioner’s unique flexibility super-charges an action many might take for granted (kicking-off a shoe) and completely reimagines this movement as the basis for the accessible and empowering design.
The Nike GO FlyEase has a patent-pending bi-stable hinge and midsole tensioner that allows for hands-free entry.
Sophisticated, accessible solutions, like those in Nike GO FlyEase, are emblematic of the “better is temporary” mentality that drives Nike FlyEase technology. Since its debut, the technologies have been employed in numerous footwear styles across basketball, running and sportswear. Each successive design balances the rigour of FlyEase criteria with unwavering performance standards.
In the Nike GO FlyEase, this translates to serving the broadest range of active lifestyles possible — whether the wearer is champion fencer Bebe Vio, a student racing to class or a parent with their hands full.
“Usually I spend so much time to get in my shoes,” says Vio. “With the Nike GO FlyEase, I just need to put my feet in and jump on it. The shoes are a new kind of technology, not only for adaptive athletes but for everyone’s real life.”
The Nike GO FlyEase is available initially via invite for select Nike Members, with broader consumer availability planned for later this year.