Nike GO FlyEase: A hands-free sneaker for the disabled and just about anyone

Nike GO FlyEase: A hands-free sneaker for the disabled and just about anyone

No barriers

Text: Janice Sim

In the growing realm of adaptive fashion, independent designers typically make up the bulk of the lot — with a clear reverie to dress people with disabilities. Now, the lesser-known need is getting more shine with Nike's entry — a hands-free sneaker, called GO FlyEase, in line with the US sportswear giant's FlyEase series.

This product transpired from a letter from Matthew Walzer, who was born with cerebral palsy, and wrote to Nike about creating a shoe he didn't need to tie. The note was penned in 2012, with Walzer stating: "At 16 years old, I am able to completely dress myself, but my parents still have to tie my shoes. As a teenager who is striving to become totally self-sufficient, I find this extremely frustrating and at times, embarrassing."

Not only do you not have to tie your own laces, you don't even have to touch your sneakers to put them on. The sneaker features a hinge and something called a "tensioner", just so you can slip it on and off easily. To start, you slide your feet in and push down on the heel to secure the fit. To remove, you hold down the back of your shoe with one foot and slide one foot out at a time. It's a game-changer for accessibility, while embodying Nike's signature design — another highlight that the disabled could appreciate, from the limited options that are currently in the market. We only hope this can bode the start of big brands incorporating the needs of the disabled into their future product lines.

While the line was designed for athletes with disabilities, everyone and anyone can don on these kicks. They function as easy, lightweight sneakers for folks on-the-go, pregnant women, germaphobes who don't wish to get their hands dirty right after hand-sanitisation, and bascially anyone unable to function before 9am. That includes fumbling with bending over and figuring out butterfly bows.

The Nike GO FlyEase is available initially via invite for select Nike Members, with broader consumer availability planned for later this year.