The sneaker industry continues to have a huge buzz about it. The demand for sneakers fluctuates year after year, driving huge increases in price from the original amount through reselling.
The love for sneakers is shared amongst all kinds of people and there is a growing increase through the use of social media and online content to showcase the latest or coolest shoes on the market. One of the biggest brands in the sneaker industry, Nike, has an estimated net worth of over 30 billion dollars.
Nike have always prided themselves on their efforts in making a diverse brand and has led the way in creating a diverse market through their products. Here’s a few ways Nike have made an impact on the disability within the fashion world.
The Nike Go FlyEase
Let's start with the Nike Go FlyEase. A programme in development since 2015, the focus of the FlyEase is to make shoes that everyone can wear, and specifically allowing easier access for people with certain disabilities. The latest addition is the GO FlyEase, which is a completely hands-free trainer, no need to play around with laces or to reach for your feet. The design allows you to just use your feet to step out and step in to the sneakers.
The story behind this comes from a 16 year old boy by the name of Matthew Walzer, who has cerebral palsy, when he wrote a letter to Nike voicing how he could dress all of himself but still had to ask his parents to tie his laces. Nike saw the letter and decided to utilise the teenager's knowhow to work on a sneaker that he could use without the dependence on his parents. This inspired the Nike Go FlyEase, a shoe which caters for the likes of Matthew and those with similar struggles, who can now put the trainers on without the assistance of others. This is such a positive story and outcome that helps shine light on the fashion and disability industry. Check out this video from 23ABC NEWS where you can see just how functional these pair of trainers are and the changes it made to Matthew's independence.
Adapt self-lacing Air Jordan 11
Next we have the brand with the basketball superstar himself Michael Jordan, as he and the Jordan brand have combined together to create a self-lacing Jordan sneaker. Technology in the trainer industry has allowed for many different innovations with shoes like the Nike Mag Back to the Future being both self-lacing and having the ability to light up however, the shoes that stand out when it comes to accessibility are the self-lacing Air Jordan 11 adapt. These trainers a reconstruction of the famous retro Jordan 11 sneaker. Jordan's first came about in 1984/85 and have since become a staple in the sneaker world. All of the previous retro Jordan's have been with laces, you can only imagine the frustration of people who physically struggle to tie them.
Jordan shows how far technology and innovation for disability has come. The only downside is these will set you back at least 500$, so it’s not an easy trainer to attain. Despite the price tag, it is still a step forward for the Jordan brand to finally have one of it famous retro sneakers having self-lacing technology. If they keep going in this direction, technology can continue to open doors for less expensive shoes that have the same function.
Fashion is for everyone and should be accessible for all, so seeing how one of the biggest brands in the world playing their part in innovating fashion for all is great, especially in the sneaker community where many people who struggle with tieing laces or putting on their favourite sneakers will certainly appreciate it. Check out this video showcasing the Air Jordan 10 self lace.