For many, shoes are a pain to put on. Our shoes require a certain dexterity. And it’s more than just a nuisance for people with disabilities, ranging from arthritis to partial paralysis. Nike’s Go FlyEase is the first sneaker you can slip on without bending over or using your hands.
“It improves people’s lives,” says Sarah Reinertsen, former head of the Paralympian innovation team and FlyEase.
The design is based on a revolutionary bistable hinge integrated with the rebounding outsole of the shoe. This hinge essentially splits the shoe in half (Nike designers mocked the first Go prototype by sawing a shoe in half). When the hinge is open, you can slide your foot into the toe box. Then, pressing down on your weight, the shoe closes over your foot like a molded marshmallow. A tension band automatically wraps around the entire shoe to help hold it together.
The Go FlyEase is proof that universal design (design designed to accommodate disabilities) can really lead to a better product for everyone. Nike quickly sold the Go at launch in February 2021 and faced criticism from the disability community as shoe collectors snatched it up, listing it on resale sites for twice the MSRP. .