I've Been Waiting All My Life for Nike's GO FlyEase — and I'm Scared
The GO FlyEase make your sneakers look like antiques.
I never thought I would be writing an article like this.
Because I am not asneakerhead. Far from it. But Nike has just announced their GO FlyEase, hands-free sneakers. And as soon as I saw them, I knew that I had to have them.
As a kid, I never took good care of my shoes — I didn't keep them clean or dry or free of scuffs and scrapes. If anything, I was a sneaker abuser.
At any given time I generally had two useable pairs of sneakers — a back up for when the main pair were temporarily out of commission, and the mainstay pair that I would run ragged over asphalt, mud, rocks, and tree roots, occasionally drowning them in creek water. I wore them until the soles wore through.
Most of all, I tried to never bother with the laces — left them tied and stuffed my feet in without regard for the heel or tongue, crumpling them both. If they came undone, I would drag them around uncaring for hours, so they were usually filthy and frayed.
After carefully selecting a new pair of shoes for style and comfort, they quickly became objects of pure necessity that served neither purpose. I was painfully impatient, and shoes were an afterthought — the obstacle between myself and the outside world, which I was happy to avoid anytime barefoot was an option (and often when barefoot was a bad idea).
I wore them with the tongue perpetually jammed toward the toe and off to one side — revealing my socks beneath the laces; and when I came home, I would pin the heel of one shoe with the other, then kick them off to lay astray beside the front door. Within a month of my ownership, my sneakers were universally a disgrace — scuffed and filthy, with the collar that hugs the heel gone squashed and limp.
When I was a freshman in high school I remember a kid in my homeroom laughing at how ragged my shoes were. I looked from his immaculate Jordans back to my once-white adidas — now beige and misshapen, with creases highlighted in brown dirt. I didn't understand — and still don't — how such a utilitarian item could be treated so preciously.
It was around that age that I started putting in the bare minimum of effort to preserve my shoes — just enough to avoid ridicule. I wiped them down with a wet cloth when they got visibly dirty, started spending slightly less time tromping through the woods, and started using my hands when forcing my feet into place — rather than wiggling and stomping until the heel got out of the way.
And that's about as much as my shoe etiquette ever advanced. I still leave them laced up and squeeze in and out. I vaguely want them to look nice, but I still wear them until my socks starts poking through the soles. And all of this is exactly why I'm irrationally excited for Nike's latest creation.
Nike's GO FlyEaseGif via Nike
In appearance the GO FlyEase's are entirely too cool for me. They're sleek and colorful. They look like futuristic water shoes, or what a transformer would look like if you could wear one on your foot.
But that's fine. I'll gladly change my whole aesthetic and personality and replace my wardrobe for shoes that work like Nike tells us these do. This is what shoes should always have been.
Rather than lacing and unlacing — or bending down to forcibly squeezing your feet into place — you slip your foot into the tilted body like a welcoming slide, then step down so the folding sole can go flat while the back of the shoe rises up to hug your foot. To get them off, you step on a bit that sticks back from the heel, and reverse the process.
Why are all shoes not like this?! What year are we living in that we still use little ropes to tie stuff to our feet?
The rising popularity of slip-ons — including the rest of Nike's FlyEase line — has been great, but they're generally just heel collars that are made to be stepped on. There's been nothing that's really changed the game like this.
Even when Nike previously made Marty McFly's "self-lacing" shoes from Back to the Future a reality, that wasn't quite right. It was good to see someone finally confront the tyranny of laces with a solution that was more elegant than Velcro. But the high top Nike Mags didn't look particularly easy to get into — and were also selling for thousands of dollars.
The GO FlyEase design, on the other hand, seems like the perfect execution. It's elegant and simple, and the shoes are slated to retail for a slightly more affordable $120.
In promotional footage the whole process looks so smooth it's like a dream. If that's accurate, it's great news for people with disabilities that make regular sneakers difficult. But it's especially good news for lazy, impatient people like me.
Nike Go FlyEase | Behind the Design | Nikewww.youtube.com
Finally sneakers can be the fleeting afterthought I always wanted — an invitation to the outside world, rather than an impediment. Finally I can be comfortable and stylish with the absolute zero effort I'm willing to put in.
Unless these shoes are less than 100% perfect... Even as I'm getting myself excited to throw out every shoe I own and replace them all with four pairs of GO FlyEase, that doubt is nagging at the back of my head, and it upsets me way more than it should.
What if the spot where the sole's fold jabs at the bottom of your foot goes stiff after a week of use? What if the band that holds the front to the back breaks when you run? What if the execution turns out to be so sloppy that the shoes become a joke, and no company ever tries this design again?
The GO FlyEase seem like a dream come true, but if there are flaws we can't yet see, those dreams could end up shattered. I am praying that Nike got every detail right, because now that I know what's possible, I may not be able to go back to the way shoes were.
Please, Nike — don't let me down.