Recently, I received a feed discussing a Nike app that automatically ties your Nike shoelaces. Of course, it requires a marriage between the phone, the shoes and some hardware built into the shoes.
The vendor creating this is Nike (of course). One has to read the press release. This is, IMHO, one of the most worthless concepts a vendor has come up with in a long time. Is it not bad enough that much of the younger generations are considered to be self-indulgent and lack the drive and ambition that has earmarked earlier generations. What amazes me is that a company like Nike would waste time and money on such a useless device. But then, junk mountain is full of devices someone thought were good ideas, right?
History has produced a slew of products that never should have seen the light of day. But, this one seems to be directed at the “phone always in the face” generation. It will be interesting to see if it catches on. If it does not, there is still hope for them.
Nike tries to justify this by advertising this as a benefit – to be able to adjust the laces using a smart app called FitAdapt. The app uses a smartphone to adjust lace settings. Wearers can define lace settings to accommodate a variety of conditions depending on what is going on at the time. For example, during a timeout, a player can loosen the shoe before tightening it up as they re-enter the game.
OMG! Talk about lazy. For the last 40 years, I have been running with my whatever brand was on sale, or last year’s model sneakers. I wear out a pair in a few months. Maybe it is different for ball games and they last longer. Not a real sports fan …. so.
But, guess what. I do not ever recall having to loosen my laces during or after my run. Even if I did, all I had to do was sit down and do it manually (it will take less time than using a smartphone, anyway).
I know, that in competition sports, all kinds of minute tweaks are used. One that caught me by surprise was when I learned that pro bike racers shave their legs to reduce wind resistance. Sorry, I just had to laugh at that one, as well.
So now, will this automatic lace system cut a few microseconds off a cross-court basketball run because they will optimize the fit for maximum traction? Here is what Nike says: “In a forthcoming feature, they can even prescribe a different tightness setting for warm-ups. Plus, players can opt in to receive firmware updates for the FitAdapt technology as they become available, sharpening the precision of fit for players and providing new digital services over time.”
Will loosening the laces increase blood flow to the feet (will a similar app work for baseball player’s cap?), improving gameplay going forward? But what about the weight of the hardware, will that not negate any benefit? I want to see some hard research… LOL!
There is already concern from the psychological and medical segments that we are beginning to allow way too much to be done for us. This brings to mind an early Star Trek episode where they come across a race called the Organians. They were an extremely advanced civilization of noncorporeal beings, having developed beyond their physical bodies. While this is quite a ways from that, having our shoes tied by a phone app just seems ludicrous to me. There have got to be many more worthwhile activities that could benefit from these kinds of creative minds.
Now, not to say that this is not a valid development and has applicability in certain circumstances. Such shoes, for example, can be a real benefit to older, or feeble individuals, or those with crippling palsy, or limb challenges of one type or another. And think about the benefits it can have for wounded warriors. These cases certainly have merit. There are, likely, many other credible scenarios where such an application has value. But for capable athletes? Sorry, I just cannot get behind this.
However, as long as we are on the topic, I think I will talk to the vendor who makes motorcycle glasses. So I can be looking at my smartphone to adjust my tint and airflow as I fly off the road at 90 mph!