Nike Ease Challenge

On Oct 28th, Nike announced the Nike Ease Challenge, which invites designers, engineers, makers and innovators to advance and reinvent footwear design for athletes of all abilities. The $50,000 challenge continues Nike’s leadership in driving footwear innovations that help all athletes to live more active and independent lives.

I've worn some of the alternative entry system shoes Nike has put out in the past. 

Love the Air Rift.

I dug into the patent vault to learn more.  For the Nike FlyEase, a lacing system is connected to a strap of velcro along with the use of a zipper.  I didn't realize there was a lacing system connected through the strap to make the shoe tighter.  Here are some of the shoe sketches below.

For my design I'm thinking about:

Magnets to open and close foot entry

how can an athlete tighten a shoe with limited mobility?

how can an athlete take off a tightened shoe with limited mobility?

two separate uppers that weave through each other

how can you open an upper for a larger foot, then create an adaptive level of ankle support?

how can you mechanize the closure of a shoe differently than the AIRMAG (motor in sole)?

How can you use rubber and stretch materials to provide support?

an adaptive lacing system in between the liner and the upper

stretch weave materials

A removable heel counter

 early concepts from the Nike FlyEase Video

early concepts from the Nike FlyEase Video

Here's some of the videos I watched while coming up with ideas/inspirations.