First hands-free shoes for people with specific limitations now available at Nike [Video]


  • Nike has addressed the needs of people with specific limitations, such as disabled people who have lost the use of their arms, arthritis patients and pregnant women in their third trimester.
  • The shoe allows wearer to take it on and off easily, without the use of hands.
  • The idea was originally inspired back in 2008 when one of Nike’s employees suffered a stroke and could no longer use his arm.

Nike has once again revolutionized a shoe offering, but this time not for elite athletes, rather for the physically challenged.

Attending to a specific need barely addressed, Flyease Go, Nike’s latest groundbreaker, is the first totally hands-free shoe.

The shoe design allows wearer to easily wear it on and off, enveloping and releasing the feet solely through natural motion — a bit like how Tony Stark seamlessly puts on his Iron Man suit.

According to a top Nike designer, the innovative shoe is perfect for disabled people who have lost the use of their arms, such as stroke victims or injured military veterans, for arthritis patients and for pregnant women in their third trimester.

In a talk with Fast Company, Nike designer Tobie Hatfield recalled how one of the company’s most treasured employees suffered a stroke in 2008 and could no longer use one of his arms.

The incident inspired the sportswear firm to design a special shoe for the injured staff member. Hatfield was tasked to innovate and he came up with a pair involving a zipper and Velcro.

The team has advanced the idea which leads to today’s creation of Flyease Go, an “everyday performance lifestyle shoe.” The specialized shoe will be in a slow-rollout release this year, starting at $120.

“What I love about this shoe in particular is we listened to the extreme needs of [people with specific limitations],” Sarah Reinertsen, the Senior Director of Nike Ease, told Fast Company. “But with this solution we feel like it’s a universal proposition.”

The shoe is divided in two halves, restrained by a neoprene tension band with a limited two-stage hinge in the middle of the outsole.

Its loafer-like front section arches up to a 30-degree angle, with the hinge opening when the shoe is not being worn.

When the foot is into the loafer-like front, a discreet pressing motion closes the hinge, refastens the neoprene band and pulls the two halves together to snug around the feet.

The hands-free mechanism allows easier opening of the hinge in order to pull the foot out of the shoe.

“We talk a lot about universal design and what universal design does when it creates an invitation for every and any athlete,” said Chief Design Officer John Hoke. “And when we solve that problem really, really, well—like I think the Nike Go does—it creates universal appeal. It’s not going to be bound by one unique audience. It welcomes any audience because it’s so clever.”

Source: Good News Network

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