Nike has released a new sneaker especially designed for people with disabilities. The no-lace sneaker was the result of 3 years of work by renown Nike designer Tobie Hatfield. It features a zipper at the heel to allow the sneaker to be easily put on with one hand. This technology, called Flyease, has actually been in the works for longer than the sneaker, seven years, and is the key to what makes the new Zoom Soldier 8 easy to be worn by amputees and people with disabilities, such as cerebral palsy. Nike promises that other styles of shoes will become available with the Flyease technology.
The sneaker aligns perfectly with Nike’s mission statement of “If you have a body, you’re an athlete.” The story of how the Zoom Soldier 8 came be to is impressive for a company of Nike’s size. Matthew Walzer, a 16 year old high school junior, wrote to Nike explaining that he was nervous about going to college because he could not tie or untie his shoes due to cerebral palsy. The letter made its way to Tobie Hatfield who adopted the project. He worked closely with Matthew Walzer to design shoes that addressed his needs. Head past the break for video of the story: