This video uploaded to Twitter by HYPEBEAST shows the new design in action:
The shoe company commented on the new design in a statement (via CBS News):
“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.”
CNN pointed out that the new shoe debuts during a time when people touch fewer things than usual due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Bebe Vio, the fencer mentioned in the statement, lost both her arms and legs to meningitis as a child. She walks using prosthetic legs and competes in a wheelchair.
“Usually I spend so much time to get in my shoes,” Vio said in a Nike press release. “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.”
According to USA Today, Matthew Walzer, a young man who was born with cerebral palsy, was the inspiration behind the new shoe design. In 2012, Walzer wrote a letter to Nike about creating a shoe he didn’t need to tie.
“At 16 years old, I am able to completely dress myself, but my parents still have to tie my shoes,” the letter stated, according to USA Today. “As a teenager who is striving to become totally self-sufficient, I find this extremely frustrating and, at times, embarrassing.”
Earlier Nike FlyEase models used zippers and cords for easy slip on and take off, CBS News reports, but none were entirely hands-free. This new athletic design opens up “benefits for all athletes,” according to Nike.
According to CNN, the new Nike Go FlyEase sneakers will be available for purchase to members of Nike’s free membership program on its website starting Feb. 15 and cost $120 per pair. General release will be later in the year.