Nike Adapt BB – Nike’s Self Lacing Sneakers

Nike Adapt BB

Nike Adapt BB Release Date

The Nike Adapt BB sneaker is Nike’s brand new self lacing basketball shoe, representing the latest innovation in their revolutionary E.A.R.L (Electro Adaptive Reactive Lacing) technology. The Adapt BB sneaker is not the first to have been released to the public with Nike’s self-lacing sneakers technology, but is following in the footsteps of the iconic Nike Hyperadapt 1.0 series which Nike launched  in December 2016.

Retailing for $350 the sneakers were released on Sunday the 17th of February alongside the NBA All-Star Weekend festivities in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The History Behind Nike’s Self Lacing Technology

The idea behind power laces is certainly not a new concept as Nike’s self lacing sneakers was already a dream in 1989 when Marty McFly put on his Nike Mags in the movie Back To The Future II and to his surprise the self lacing technology kicked in.

In the movie Back To The Future II it was predicted that this technology will be available by the year 2015. It was however one year later in the year 2016 when Nike finally made their dream a reality by releasing the first Nike Mags with self lacing technology. These Nike Mags however were not made available to the public, but could only be obtained through a raffle with the proceeds going directly to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. There were only 89 pairs of Nike Mags sold on auction.

Just for the sake of the real Nike Mags enthusiasts out there I know I should point out that in 2011 Nike for the very first time released Nike Mags to the public through auctioning 1510 pairs exclusively through eBay and live auctions at various Nike stores, but these Nike Mags did not yet feature the “Power Laces” technology. In 2016 with the actual Nike Mags that now featured for the first time the Nike self lacing technology, it was actually rebranded from Nike Mags to Nike Mag, but in my writing here I found it very bizarre to refer to more than one as “Mag” instead of “Mags”, so I just wanted to make sure I provide clarity for the sake of the die heart Nike Mags enthusiasts.

Then came the Hyperadapt 1.0, co-created by Tinker Hatfield and Tiffany Beers, which marked the iconic moment when self lacing technology for the first time became available to the general public, but with a price tag of $720 it was simply not affordable.

How It Works

The moment you slip on the shoes for the very first time a motor and gear train sense adjust the fit accordingly by sensing tension. The tension can be adjusted according to your preference either via the Nike Adapt BB app which syncs with the shoes via Bluetooth or by manual touch on the midsole’s two light-up buttons. With the press of a button or the swipe of a finger, the Nike Adapt BB tightens and loosens to the wearer’s preference.

The idea behind it is that athlete’s needs a different fit for different situations. For peak performance athlete’s might prefer a snug fit, but during break times the athlete might like to loosen the laces slightly to allow for optimal blood flow.

The real game changer is that customised tensions can be saved as pre-sets, meaning that a simple tap of the finger is enough to go from bench mode to performance mode. One of the pitfalls however is that if your phone runs out of battery then you will not have access to your pre-saved tensions and will then have to manually adjust tension through the buttons located on the midsole.

One big advantage of the Nike Adapt BB basketball shoe is that in theory there is no more need to lace and re-lace your shoes which is so often the case when actively participating in high performance sports.

Bells, Whistles And Future Technologies

The Nike Adapt BB app also controls the light-up colours of the tension adjust buttons located on the midsole and there is a multitude of colours to choose from. Each tension pre-set can be associated with a specific colour which makes it easy for you to identify each preset accordingly.

Each pair of Nike Adapt BB sneakers also comes with a Qi wireless charging pad. A full charge should last around 14 days. It takes about three hours for a full charge.

Every component needed to make the shoe smart lives inside what Nike calls, the “lace engine.” Inside you find a microcontroller, 505mAh battery, gyroscope, accelerometer, bluetooth module, motor, lights, pressure sensor, capacitive touch sensor and a wireless charging coil. All of the technology that you find in a smartphone is packed inside this shoe. Nike could easily update the app through its firmware to start counting steps or start tracking fitness.

More colours are set to be released by Nike in the future, with Nike planning on integrating the FitAdapt technology with other sports and lifestyle products.

Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 white
Nike Hyper Adpapt 1.0 black and red
Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 Blue

But Is It Worth $350

The importance of this new lace engine cannot be overstated and is a pivotal upgrade on the Nike self lacing technology previously used in the Hyperadapt 1.0 which was a tangled, entwined mess that could not have been easily mass-produced. It is for exactly this reason that you will see Hyperadapt 1.0 selling for crazy amounts of money on platforms like Amazon ( I have seen some on sale for more than $3500).

The new lace engine can go in any shoe that is big enough to house it, regardless of the design of the shoe and this is critical to making the Adapt BB widely available and easily repairable.

As a result of mass production capability the price of $350 for a much more advanced lace engine system is now possible. When compared to the self lacing system of the Nike Hyperadapt 1.0 that originally sold at a price of $720, it seems like a darn good deal when considered the technology built into it.

I was absolutely gobsmacked when I saw a pair of Giuseppe Zanotti Tribute sneakers selling at Harrods for a crazy £1050. Yes, fair enough, it is a tribute to the legend King of Pop, Michael Jackson, but when inspecting it, it is pretty much just an ordinary looking sneaker. I could not help but think to myself that it probably cost not even a £100 to create these sneakers, so there you go, a quick £950 profit on a pair of shoes, just because of its brand name and because it is a tribute to the legend, Michael Jackson.

In the light of the above and with the epic connection the Nike Adapt BB has to the movie Back To The Feature II, I do think this is priced very reasonably. It is also important to remember that Nike created this basketball shoe with the professional basketball player in mind and if the Adapt BB is good enough for the professional NBA basketball players, then surely it will be more than good enough for the average public consumer. It is also of course important to remember that you are not only paying for an ordinary sneaker, but for a whole lot of technology built into the shoe and also included in the price is of course the wireless charging pad.

Caveats To Consider

The shoes might last a long time sitting on a shelf as a collectors item, but the battery inside them could degrade. However if you are buying the Nike Adapt BB sneakers for the purpose of actively using them, then Nike is very confident that the shoes will wear out long before the technology does.

Nike made it clear however that the modular component is specifically designed to be swappable and can be replaced by Nike should the motor die or should you be in need of a repair.

Another caveat to consider is that some people might not like the fact that the motor is quite loud, whereas others might consider it epic and would not want to have it any other way.

The shoe sizes is another issue at this point in time for some, as the technology is not yet available to be built into smaller sizes. At his point the shoes will only be released in men’s sizing, in sizes seven to 15, and half sizes will be available up to size 14, too. Nike suggested however that they will bring this technology to smaller sizes in the future.

App Compatibility – a temporary caveat to consider

Nike’s brand new Adapt BB smart sneakers has just stopped working for some Android users due to a bad update only days after the sneakers has been released to the general public. Some users reported that the update caused the motor to stop working, even through the physical buttons.

This will probably only be a temporary issue, but it does seem as if Nike has focused more on spending resources on building out the IOS app than is the case with the Android App.

Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 Black
Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 white
NIke HyperAdapt 1.0 metallic grey
Nike Hyper Adpapt 1.0 black and red
Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 Blue

The Final Verdict And Where To Buy

Although the verdict has already been concluded in the section which beckoned the question whether the Adapt BB is worth $350, I will conclude with a very quick summary.

If you have $350 lying around, you are crazy about technology and you absolutely love the epic connection it has with the 1989 movie Back To The Future II, then it is an absolute no brainer.

Although there are several retail shops that will have the Nike Adapt BB in store as well as of course Amazon, the most obvious place to buy would be from Nike itself.

Nike Adapt BB

Interesting Question For The Comments Section

I saw someone comment one of the Nike Adapt BB released videos on YouTube asking this question. “How do I get the shoes off my feet if the battery happens to run out?” I found this quite funny and wanted to see the responses people provided there. The poor fellow that asked the question was greeted with some sarcastic replies beckoning the question if he is an idiot or something, but yet no one actually seemed to give an actual factual response. Just after that I happened to watch a video on the release of the Nike Hyperadapt 1.0 back in the day and the guy that reviewed the Hyperadapt trainers actually pertinently warned that you will have a problem getting the shoes off your feet should the battery run out. So it seems that it was not such a stupid question after all.

So here is my question to you? “Did Nike now made provision to solve this problem when it comes to the Nike Adapt BB? Do they have some override system in place, should the batteries run out while you still wearing them?” I would love to hear your responses on this in the comments box below.


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9 thoughts on “Nike Adapt BB – Nike’s Self Lacing Sneakers”

  1. Wow, I didn’t realize that those already exist! Those back to the future self lacing shoes looks amazing! Great article, thanks for sharing!

  2. Yes, they certainly are amazing! They just got released on Sunday the 17th of February in conjunction with the NBA All-Star Weekend festivities in Charlotte, North Carolina.

  3. Hi Schalk,

    What a great find and post. Thank you for sharing.

    I am a sucker for classic movies and gadgets. Having said that, I can see the use for the technology but I was wondering: Doesn’t it make the shoe heavy with the battery and all? Do you know if they will fit in some monitoring sensors later like the amount of steps taken, distance, running pace and so forth?

    I may not even think twice of getting a pair then!


    1. It is actually quite incredible how the technology advanced in such a short space of time, as the Nike Hyperadapt 1.0 that first debuted in December 2016 was quite heavy due to the lacing engine built into the shoe. Fast forward to 2019 the Nike Adapt BB weighs less than 2 ounces, light enough to keep the Adapt BB within serviceable weight range: A size 9 comes in at exactly a pound, lighter than some LeBron models. Keeping into consideration that the Nike Adapt BB was created for the professional NBA players, one would expect it to be light enough for optimal sports performance.

      Nike certainly wants adaptive fit technology to be a data-fueled platform, so tracking steps and activity levels is certainly in the pipeline according to Jordan Rice, senior director in Smart Systems Engineering at Nike.

  4. I have heard that these were out but I haven’t seen them until just now. These are pretty freaking cool. Amazing how fast technology moves. Who would’ve thought that shoes would be self lacing in 2019? It’s really cool to see how these work as well. I can see why people would want them but for me personally, the thought of having to keep one more thing in my life charged is overwhelming LOL. That being said, I think that this will be a big winner for them based on the cool factor alone. Thanks for a really cool post Schalk!

    1. I think you are perfectly correct. I am also not too sure if I could be bothered to charge another device in my life lol, no matter how cool it might be. I will be going to the Nike Store in Oxford Circus very soon and will try them on. Once I tried it out, I might be very likely to change my mind and get them. I think what makes it pretty cool for me is the whole connection it has with Back To The Future II and it is so exciting to own technology that was a dream for around 30 years and now finally became reality.

  5. Great technology in shoes from Nike. I am not sure that I am ready to fork over $350 for a pair of sneakers. Does it state any where how long the rechargeable battery will last and how easy it is to replace. Do you have to take your shoes to a shop to get the battery changed.
    This would be a small business opportunity to open a repair shop or replacement parts for the Nike shoes.

    1. Yes, John, a full charge would last around 14 days. And in reply to your second question, I quote from the article: “Nike made it clear however that the modular component is specifically designed to be swappable and can be replaced by Nike should the motor die or should you be in need of a repair.” And you are certainly correct that it could lead to a business opportunity if you have the know how. However, it would probably only be Nike that would be in possession of this technology and therefore it probably gives them the exclusive right to this business opportunity. However, not ruling out the possibility that there might be people out there with the knowledge to fix the motor should it not be working anymore. Should the whole system have to be replaced however and not repairable, then I guess Nike would be your only option. Great thinking though, John, and I am curious to see if what you mentioned here would become reality – new entrepreneurship businesses opening up as a result of the advancement of self lacing technology.

  6. Hi Schalk, it was fun finding out about these self-lacing shoes. When you listed off all the technological items that needed to be included in the shoes just so they could be self-lacing, I can see why these shoes weren’t available sooner. Thank you for this post. I enjoyed it.

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