Nike FlyEase has been around for a few years now, but it wasn’t until this week the Swoosh unveiled a new pair that caught the eyes of sneakerheads. Now, Nike is applying their FlyEase technology to lifestyle shoes, starting with the Air Jordan 1 High.
Nike’s zippered technology first began its journey in 2012, when then 16-year-old Matthew Walzer, who has Cerebral Palsy, contacted the brand about developing shoes for people who have difficulty tying laces. The letter Matthew wrote detailed some of his specific needs and and concerns about his footwear, saying “My dream is to go to the college of my choice without having to worry about someone coming to tie my shoes every day. I’ve worn Nike basketball shoes all my life. I can only wear this type of shoe, because I need ankle support to walk. 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.”
The letter was received by Nike designer Tobie Hatfield (yeah, that Hatfield), who was already dedicating a good portion of his time helping to solve problems for athletes. The two began working together to create what would ultimately become Nike FlyEase, a unique entry-and-closure system to help people like Matthew put on and secure their footwear by themselves. FlyEase technology made its debut on the LeBron Soldier 8, before expanding to the current total of 33 silhouettes available across mens, womens, and chilrens sizing. Some of these include running sneakers, which were developed in partnership with Justin Gallegos, an Oregon track-and-field athlete with Cerebral Palsy. However, this week, Nike FlyEase made its most important breakthrough yet.
“People with disabilities need 1s too…There’s really very little in the sneaker world that caters to people with disabilities. SNKRs app or adidas Confirmed apps are a joke in terms of accessibility.” – Sockjig
Nike’s new Fearless collection was unveiled this week, giving us a preview of twelve new Air Jordan 1 variations and collaborations arriving in stores over the next few months. Aside from the hyped up, already-leaked releases, we got a good look at the new Air Jordan 1 High FlyEase. Some people have already brushed off the new construction, arguing that we already have a zippered Jordan 1 available in womens sizes. However, this is something else entirely. There aren’t a lot of “cool” sneakers that are manufactured with disabilities in mind, let alone the silhouette that people often look to as the sneaker that started it all, so Nike making the Jordan 1 their first lifestyle offering says a considerable amount about them listening to consumer needs. Not to mention the fact that Nike doesn’t make everything for sneakerheads to enjoy. As our friend Sockjig said: “If they put a zipper on an AJ1, it just means that it’s not for you.”
AIR JORDAN 1 HIGH FLYEASE RELEASE INFORMATION
The next monumental release for Nike Flyease is the Air Jordan 1, which is scheduled to make its debut next week on November 1st, 2019. The easily-accessible version of the legendary sneaker will carry a much friendlier retail price of just $140, and will likely be available from Nike and select retailers. Check out the early images from HanZuYing below, and stay tuned to JustFreshKicks for more Nike release news.
Air Jordan 1 High FlyEase
Release Date: November 1st, 2019
Color: Black/Gym Red-White-Black
Style Code: CQ3835-001
Words by Ben Serleth