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These Tech Buffs Made Self-Lacing Shoes Like the Ones From 'Back to the Future'

Men's Health logo Men's Health 11/20/2020 Katie Dupere
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Have you ever gone to tie your shoes in the morning and thought, Man, this is a big ol’ waste of time?

Chances are you haven’t, but you can’t deny that having self-lacing shoes to impress your friends with would be pretty awesome. In a video by popular YouTube channel Hacksmith Industries, the well-known tech crew tackles this classic project: making self-lacing shoes.

You likely know the famous scene from Back to the Future Part II where Marty McFly puts on a pair of sick self-lacing Nikes. The high-top sneakers are completely sick, but not exactly true to life. While Nike actually does sell self-lacing shoes as part of the Nike Adapt line, which is specially designed for people with disabilities and others with limited motor skills, the shoes are controlled with an app, not Back to the Future-esque technology. The brand has invested in self-lacing technology for decades, even releasing self-lacing Nikes modeled after McFly’s in 2016. But nothing has really stuck with long term, non-gimmicky application for the average consumer.

In the Hacksmith Industries video, the crew decides to try their own hand at solving the self-lacing shoe problem—and they do a pretty stellar job. The Hacksmith crew fastens five individual laces on one end of the shoe, attaching the other end to a motorized spool. The spool, which is mounted within the shoe, turns when activated by a button, winding the laces to the needed tightness.

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The crew decides to put all the tech components in the sole of the shoe, making them completely hidden. Yet, this plan involves a lot of components. Placing all of them in the sole of the shoe damages the structural integrity of the sneaker, leading the crew to design thin metal inserts for the kicks. While the comfortability is questionable, it is effective. After designing a custom circuit board for the shoe, the sneakers are assembled—and actually work.

a pair of sneakers: In a video by popular YouTube channel Hacksmith Industries, the well-known tech crew tackles a classic project — making self-lacing shoes. © Universal Pictures/YouTube/ Hacksmith Industries In a video by popular YouTube channel Hacksmith Industries, the well-known tech crew tackles a classic project — making self-lacing shoes.

But don’t get too hype to see these shoes on the market. The video is just for entertainment—and no one wants a metal insole anyway.

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