Nike Creates Real “Back to the Future” Shoes

May 11, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. capture the imagination (of someone) / ˈkæp tʃər ði ɪˌmædʒ əˈneɪ ʃən / (idiom) – to fascinate or catch the interest of someone
Example: The high-tech car captured the imagination of all car lovers.

2. fictional / ˈfɪkʃənl̟ / (adj.) – referring to something that is imagined or not true
Example: Many people idolize fictional characters from the movies.

3. adaptive / əˈdæp tɪv / (adj.) – having the ability to adjust or adapt to a situation
Example: People should be highly adaptive to changes in the environment.

4. replica / ˈrɛp lɪ kə / (n.) – a copy of something, usually an almost exact copy of the original
Example: The museum produced replicas of the painting.

5. manually / ˈmæn yu əli / (adv.) – done using human effort, especially by the hands
Example: The stove’s heat must be manually adjusted.


Read the text below.
Nike has recently unveiled the HyperAdapt 1.0–self-lacing sneakers inspired by a futuristic 80s movie.

In 1989, Back to the Future II captured the imaginations of many with fictional Nike shoes that featured adaptive laces that adjust shoe tightness automatically. Now, the world-renowned sportswear company has turned them into reality. On October 21, 2015, Nike presented a replica of the movie’s high-tech shoes to Michael J. Fox, who played the movie’s time-travelling protagonist, Marty McFly. The date, known as Back to the Future Day, was the destination of Marty’s time travel in the movie.

This March, Nike announced that they are mass-producing sneakers with adaptive laces. The sneakers have a sensor that is activated by the wearer’s heel. The sensor reads the wearer’s weight and foot position to determine how tight the laces should be. Afterwards, it adjusts the laces through a set of battery-operated pulleys. The shoes’ batteries last two weeks before they need recharging.

Currently, the tightness of the laces can be adjusted using two buttons on the side of the shoes. However, Nike aims to make a future model that does not need to be adjusted manually.

HyperAdapt 1.0 will be released exclusively for members of Nike+ during the 2016 holiday season. The company’s senior innovator Tiffany Beers and her team of shoe designers and engineers are the minds behind the sneaker technology.

Aside from HyperAdapt, the company has also introduced a pair of mud-resistant sneakers. The shoes’ soles are made from a material that becomes mud-resistant when it comes in contact with water. The goal of Nike’s innovative technologies is to allow athletes to perform better.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Among the two shoes (self-lacing and mud-resistant) mentioned in the article, which do you like better? Why?
·         In what situations do you think sneakers with adaptive laces can be helpful? Give examples.

Discussion B

·         If you could add high-tech features to your shoes, what would you add?
·         Do you think it is important to invest in highly-specialized shoes? Why or why not?

May 11, 2016