Putting on a pair of shoes can be a daily struggle and a chore if you are disabled or elderly. But shoe designers are coming up with some interesting, futuristic designs that could help make life easier.
As a result of an open letter sent by a teenager with Cerebral Palsy, Nike have developed a cool pair of trainers designed for people with disabilities. Matthew Walzer, then 16, wrote asking Nike to make a pair of accessible shoes that would provide support and a closure system that could be used by everyone.
In his letter, Matthew said “Out of all the challenges I have overcome in my life, there is one that I am still trying to master, tying my shoes. Cerebral palsy stiffens the muscles in the body. As a result I have flexibility in only one of my hands which makes it impossible for me to tie my shoes. My dream is to go to the college of my choice without having to worry about someone coming to tie my shoes everyday”
In response to his plea, Nike have developed Flyease, a trainer that uses a wrap around zipper system to secure the shoe, whilst a larger opening has been created to make it easier to slide the foot in and out.
In a posting on the Nike website, designer Tinker Hatfield said “While varying levels of mobility make it difficult to provide a universal solution, we feel this is a significant development for anyone who has ever struggled with independently securing their foot within Nike shoes.” Matthew responded by saying “There are not enough ‘thank yous’ in the world to express my undying gratitude.”
Limited quantities of the LeBron Soldier 8 FLYEASE are now available on Nike.com website.
Japanese footwear designer Masaya Hashimoto has joined forces with Italian shoe maker Vibram to create the Vibram Furoshiki; a minimalist piece of footwear that has been described as Origami for the feet.
Furoshiki is the traditional Japanese technique of cloth wrapping which is still used today for gift wrapping and transporting goods. This ancient technique has been used to create a minimalist piece of footwear with an innovative and anatomical grip sole that literally wraps the shoe in place. This is a really interesting concept which may help those with limited hand dexterity. You could imagine they would feel like second skin footwear; whether they will be waterproof or more of a slipper shoe is unclear but we will watch the shoe’s progress with interest.
Later this year, Nike is planning to release the Nike AIr MAG, a pair of self-lacing shoes, inspired by the time travel film ’Back to the Future II’ worn by the fictional character Marty McFly when he is transported in the movie to 2015.
Rollers embedded in the sole of the Nike Air MAG would be activated by a control system which senses weight in the sole of the shoe. The power laces then respond by tightening and wrapping themselves around the shoe. Teasers have been dropped recently by Nike’s designer Tinker Hatfield as to the launch date later this year for the Air MAG so watch this space…