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Adapt BB self-lacing smart basketball trainers by Nike

Nike Adapt BB smart basketball sneakers feature self-lacing technology

Nike has launched a pair of laceless basketball trainers that tighten at the touch of a button or swipe of a smartphone.

Unveiled 15 January 2019 during a keynote held at the sports brand's New York headquarters, the Nike Adapt BB shoes are an advanced version of the self-lacing Back to the Future-style Hyperadapt 1.0, which launched in 2016.

Nike Adapt BB self-lacing smart basketball trainers

Designed to refine fit using technology, the Adapt BB features a tiny custom motor and gear train that attach to cords – all embedded in the shoe structure. When the wearer steps into the shoe, pressure sensors react to trigger the system to tighten the upper around the foot.

A pair of buttons on the outer side also allow wearers to manually adjust the fit.

Nike Adapt BB self-lacing smart basketball trainers

Nike Adapt BB also debuts the brand's FitAdapt tech, which syncs data from the shoe's sensors with a smartphone application. The app records the fit according to different activities, so users can chose preferred settings at a later date.

Nike intends to roll out the tech across a range of sports apparel, but chose to begin with basketball because players alternate frequently between high-intensity activity and periods of rest during games.

Nike Adapt BB self-lacing smart basketball trainers

"We picked basketball as the first sport for Nike Adapt intentionally because of the demands that athletes put on their shoes," said Nike VP creative director of innovation Eric Avar in a statement.

"During a normal basketball game the athlete's foot changes, and the ability to quickly change your fit by loosening your shoe to increase blood flow and then tighten again for performance is a key element that we believe will improve the athlete's experience."

Motorised laces have been a long-term mission of Nike's legendary shoe designer Tinker Hatfield, who designed the Nike Air MAG sneakers for the 1989 movie Back to the Future II.

In a 2016 interview with Dezeen, he said the concept was "totally not a gimmick", and could help athletes avoid injury and make life easier for people with disabilities.

Nike Adapt BB self-lacing smart basketball trainers

Developing the idea further, Nike spent an "exhaustive trialing period" testing the Adapt BB on basketball players. Among these was NBA player and Boston Celtics forward, Jayson Tatum, who is set to debut the Adapt BB shoes when his team plays the Toronto Raptors tomorrow.

Materials were also designed to suit the range of motion required while wearing the Adapt BB. This includes a woven material named Quadfit, which adapts to pushes and pulls, and moulds around the foot.

Nike Adapt BB self-lacing smart basketball trainers

The hidden lace is also particularly strong – "roughly equal to that of a standard parachute cord" – and able to pull 32 pounds (14.5 kilograms) worth of force. It is coated to be smooth, so as not to cause friction, while a thick sole hides the tech system in the base of the shoe and helps to cushion the foot.

Wearers of Nike's Adapt BB can also use the app to select different colours for the light-up buttons, as well as check battery life. When this is low, the shoes can be charged wirelessly on a pad.

Additional features include firmware updates that will continue to evolve the technology after purchase, and help to continually improve the shoes' fit.

Last year, the Portland-headquartered brand also revealed the Air Max 720 addition to its Air family – famed for exposing the cushioning air pocket in the sole – featuring the "tallest" cushion yet.