In an era in which technology is touching everything around us, bad software can now even affect your shoes.
A few weeks ago, sneaker titan Nike released a pair of self-lacing sneakers called Adapt BB that were so popular that they sold out in less than an hour after they were launched. The $350 shoes, though, have since hit a big glitch, which relates to the smartphone app that pairs with the sneakers and controls how tightly laced they are. The Android version of the app reportedly bricks the shoes when communicating with shoe firmware Nike updated a few days after releasing the shoes.
The technology behind the self-lacing shoes is called FitAdapt, which users can theoretically access through either the app or manually by using a set of buttons on the side of the shoes. FitAdapt is based on something called HyperAdapt, which the company first released back in 2016. The shoes contain both a motor and a gear train, which allows users to tighten the shoes for maximum comfort.
Of course, the original idea for self-lacing shoes came from the 1989 classic "Back to the Future Part II," in which Michael J. Fox's Marty McFly donned a paired of self-lacing Nikes. The shoes becoming a reality have been seen as an example of life imitating art.
The app that accompanies the shoes does more than just let you tighten them. It also comes with tightening presets and the ability to customize the shoes' lights, and it lets users check battery levels, too.
Bricking the Shoes
While there has so far been no definitive report of what exactly does and does not work with the shoes, many users have reported that the updated firmware not only prevents either one or both of the shoes from communicating with the Android app, but sometimes it also prevents the shoes from even manually tightening.
While the reports of bricking have been mostly limited to the Android version of the app, at least one iOS user has also reported bricking issues with the app. Other users who have experienced both versions of the app say that the iOS version is also far more developed than the Android one, despite Nike having promised support for both operating systems.
Some users have reported that they have been able to resolve the bricking problem by performing a hard reset of the shoes. On Nike's website, the company has provided details on how to perform the reset as well as how to perform other types of troubleshooting.
Nike has also issued a statement in response to the issue, recognizing that there is some kind of connectivity problem with the shoes that they are actively trying to resolve. They have also encouraged any users encountering problems to contact customer service.
A Bad Day for Nike
The same day that news broke about the bricked shoes, Nike was again in the news for all the wrong reasons. That night, college basketball phenom Zion Williamson hurt his knee when one of his Nike shoes split apart during the game against North Carolina. But at least no one could blame technology for this mishap.