Nike's 'hands-free' sneaker, the Go FlyEase, draws mixed reactions online

Elizabeth Di Filippo
·Editor
·4-min read

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Nike Go Fly Ease - the first "hands-free" sneaker wins praise. (Images via Nike)
Nike Go Fly Ease - the first "hands-free" sneaker wins praise. (Images via Nike)

Nike is receiving praise online following the release of their first “hands-free” shoe, the Go FlyEase.

The new lifestyle sneaker features a bi-stable hinge and Nike’s patented Go FlyEase tensioner which makes it possible for people to simply step into the shoe, a feature which greatly benefits people with mobility issues and people with disabilities.

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“The tensioner’s unique flexibility super-charges an action many might take for granted (kicking-off a shoe) and completely reimagines this movement as basis for accessible and empowering design,” Nike said of their latest design.

The Nike Go FlyEase - Nike's first "hands-free" laceless sneaker.
The Nike Go FlyEase - Nike's first "hands-free" laceless sneaker.

The brand’s revolutionary new design is expected to launch publicly sometime later this year, however select Nike Members will have access to the shoe beginning Feb. 15.

The Go FlyEase has been met with praise online, with many social media users applauding Nike for their unique and first-of-its-kind design.

Nike's Go FlyEase sneaker - the first "hands-free" sneaker.
Nike's Go FlyEase sneaker - the first "hands-free" sneaker.

“‘Lots of individuals with various disabilities who would greatly benefit from tech like this,” one person tweeted. “Amazing steps forward for autonomy!”

“I sent my dad who has muscular dystrophy [information about] this shoe last night and this morning he sent me a screenshot of him on the phone with Nike to see when he could get a pair,” another wrote. “I have never seen him excited for a shoe in my whole life he’s being so cute right now.”

The news of the Go FlyEase’s limited release by invitation only as well as the shoe’s price tag, reportedly $120 USD, raised valid concerns about accessibility and affordability issues for people with disabilities.

“Please resellers don't go crazy and buy out the Nike Go FlyEase because a lot people need these shoes including the elderly and disabled,” pleaded one person.

Although the Go FlyEase can be worn by everybody, the shoe’s design has been inspired by people with physical disabilities and mobility issues.

In 2012, Matthew Walzer, a 16-year-old with Cerebral Palsy, wrote a letter to Nike asking the company to make a shoe that would allow him the independence to put on his shoes by himself.

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“My dream is to go to the college of my choice without having to worry about someone coming to tie my shoes every day,” Walzer wrote. “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.”

Matthew Walzer and Nike designer, Tobie Hatfield. (Image via Nike)
Matthew Walzer and Nike designer, Tobie Hatfield. (Image via Nike)

Designer Tobie Hatfield invited Walzer to help Nike develop the FlyEase, an athletic shoe that allowed wearers to easily slide their foot into the shoe and secure with a wrap around strap.

The Zoom Soldier 8 FlyEase was released in 2015 and given to two U.S. basketball teams participating in the Special Olympics World Summer Games.

The Go FlyEase is an advancement of the FlyEase design, an everyday lifestyle shoe that affords greater autonomy as well as convenience for people who are able bodied.

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