There is a Kickstarter that has been launched in an effort to bring a shoe to the market that laces itself. The technology looks pretty convincing and a shoe like this would certainly be of benefit to people that suffer from limitations that make tying laces difficult. The product is called the Powerlace Shoe.
While the concept is interesting, I would not be buying in on this crowdfunded shoe. I know a shoe like this would provide assistance to many, but for a runner, this is not what I am interested in. It is true – laces coming untied are a big pain, especially during a race. The North Face makes a shoe that does not normal laces but laces controlled by a dial in the back. That is helpful because The North Face has experience making shoes for runners and they know what their customers are looking for in a shoe. Salomon has a very innovative lace system as well that works quite well for trail runners (no laces getting snagged on branches).
Now, Nike is also rumored to come out with a self-tying lace shoe next year. When they hit the market with one, whatever type of athlete they are making it for will have the benefit of knowing that Nike’s shoe-making experience went into making it. It is not just about making an innovative product – it is about making a shoe that provides the right support, transition, and cushioning that various athletes look for.
I like that this company is pushing technology in footwear, but that market is incredibly competitive and has powerhouses like Nike, Under Armour, Adidas, New Balance, Asics, Reebok, The North Face, and others. Once Nike does release a shoe like this, this company will probably have a very difficult time. Especially since the asking price of the Kickstarter pledge is $175 (CAD). That is a lot of money for any shoe, especially a first product.
If you are interested in checking it and (and possibly buying it), here is the Kickstarter link. At present, they are a long way from completing their funding, so it remains to be seen how this turns out.
What do you think about this? Would you be interested in purchasing this shoe?