Nike's New Smart Shoe Is Having Dumb Technical Difficulties
With every leap forward in technology, paranoid worrywarts start thinking that the world is turning into an extra bland episode of Black Mirror. GPS on your phone? Dystopian future. Robots that can open doors? Dystopian future. Facebook announces a new kind of like button? Double dystopian future. But now that we've officially entered an age wherein you might spend two hours on the phone with tech support because your shoes have stopped working, it's hard to argue that we're not at least halfway there.
It seems that Nike is having a tough time taking its first steps into the future. This year, the company launched its first-ever true "smart" shoe, the $350 Nike Adapt BB, ushering in an age in which not only will we get to track and control our shoes with our phone, but we'll also get to see an episode of NCIS about a petty officer who gets killed when some terrorists hack his shoes and make him walk off a cliff.
With the official app, sneakerheads can activate various functions of the Adapt BB, like its lighting, its metrics, and of course, the tightness of the laces. It's the first true hands-free laceless sneaker. And it's also the first shoe that can be ruined by an update.
After a recent firmware update, iPhone users could once again get on their high-tops and look down on Android users, who have started complaining that their Nike app is bricking their footwear. While users can still sync the app with the left shoe, it no longer connects to the right shoe. Some even reported that it has caused the shoe's motor to shut down. This means that the sneaker can no longer be laced up, which has been a pretty important feature for footwear ever since we moved on from sandals and togas. So not only has Nike invented a whole new way to ruin a shoe, but they've also found a way to make wardrobe malfunctions boring and nerdy.
Now, we don't want to be those self-righteous old-timers who brag about how in their day, they had to Velcro their own Air Force Maxes and walk 20 miles in the snow to go watch Tobey Maguire play Spider-Man. Gadgets like the smart shoe tend to be the run-up to an Air-Jordan-like leap forwards in how we live our everyday lives. But while that technology gets perfected, maybe the Adapt BBs should come with some sort of emergency backup. Maybe a long, easily concealable bit of string that could be somehow be tied together using our hands? Or is that idea too disruptive?
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