In July 2015, our partner Nike introduced a new technology called Flyease that makes it easier for people with physical impairments to put on a pair of shoes. The reason this technology came about has all to do with schoolboy Matthew Walzer - he suffers from cerebral palsy, which affects his muscles and nervous system. Nike designer Tobie Hatfield came up with the idea of adding a zip to the heel of the shoe, making it possible to open the shoe completely. This means the shoe can be done up easily without the need for laces, so people with physical impairments, like Matthew, can put on their shoes without help.
To take this technology to the next level, Nike has now begun the Flyease challenge. In this competition, designers, engineers and inventors are invited to redesign this shoe series. The prize is 50,000$ and the overall aim is to enable all athletes to become more active and independent.
The developer of this technology, Tobie Hatfield, talks about Nike Flyease: "It’s our nature to innovate at Nike – and that involves finding new and better ways to do things that serve athletes. Just because laces have been used for many years, doesn’t mean it’s the best way or the only way – and for many people, the act of tying laces is physically difficult. I’m inspired by the challenge of creating solutions that benefit athletes of all abilities."