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Brief Published: 8 Feb 2021

Nike Prioritises Adaptive Design

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US sportswear giant Nike’s new Go FlyEasy sneakers allow for wearers to put on and take off the shoes without the use of straps, Velcro or other closure points, creating a completely hands-free experience. The shoes allude to an industry-wide gap in functional and adaptive clothing and footwear options for people with disabilities.

Featuring a bend in the middle of the sole, the shoes are designed for wearers to easily slip their feet in and out, ensuring that they remain closed and secure during exercise. In addition, the shoes are completely handsfree, meaning that anyone who has trouble or needs assistance putting on their shoes will benefit from the ease and adaptability offered.

Nike was prompted by the lack of options available to people with disabilities when it came to functional yet fashionable footwear, and worked with a number of athletes with disabilities on the design and testing stages of the shoes to ensure that all of their unique needs could considered and accommodated.

More mainstream brands – beyond Nike – need to consider the needs and struggles faced by consumers with disabilities when looking for clothing and footwear options that are both stylish and adaptive in order to set an industry-wide precedent. Simple details such as the closure system on this shoe can easily be adapted into a variety of collections, not just those aimed at people with disabilities. 

Additionally, this sneaker-wide appeal to both disabled and non-disabled consumers due to its fun and colourful aesthetic indicates that simple tweaks to mainstream product design can not only help individuals who face disabilities in their day-to-day lives, but still hold widespread commercial appeal.

For further inspiration, see Vans Launch Sensory Inclusive LineInstagangs: Design for Purpose and The Market for Mindful Design.

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