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Nike’s Go FlyEase Shoes: Inclusive Design, Exclusive Release

Nike in its latest addition has released its first hands-free Sneaker for people with disabilities. The latest GO FlyEase sneakers are available in three colourways, adding to its FlyEase series. 

If you are not aware of Nike’s FlyEase series then let me dwell upon it briefly. The series was originally devised to improve the experiences of athletes with disabilities, using zippers and straps rather than laces. The new addition to the series, GO FlyEase takes the idea one step ahead. Here the technology allows the customers “to step into their shoes without a single adjustment or closure point.”  The GO FlyEase sneakers were designed to make the act of putting on and taking off sneakers for the one in four people who have a disability in America easier.

 “Usually, I spend so much time [getting into] my shoes,” said Beatrice “Bebe” Vio — a fencer and Paralympics winner, who walks using prosthetic legs — in a press release. (Vio tested the shoe for Nike.) “With the Nike GO FlyEase, I just need to put my feet in and jump on it. The shoes are a new kind of technology, not only for adaptive athletes but for everyone’s real life.”

While a few call the new GO FlyEase hands-free sneakers a gamechanger for people with disabilities, many prompted that the sneakers are nothing but a comfortable alternative to traditional, lace-up footwear. However,  the much- talked about the inclusive design of the brand is rather exclusive.  

“The shoe itself has been so hyped up and praised for its inclusiveness and its accessibility for people like myself with a disability that it’s become limited and resellers and bots have got ahold of all the pairs and gouged the price up,” said 19-year-old Louie Lingard in a TikTok reaction video that went viral over the weekend. “Now, if someone with a disability that actually needs the shoe for the design purpose wants it, they’re gonna have to pay on the up end of $500 to get it,” according to reports. 

The brands GO FlyEase shoes have fans and foes both. While some users on Twitter called the design “lazy” and “weird.” Many reflected upon how the shoes could change the lives of many people.

Before anyone jumps to criticize this for it's "laziness," instead think about how THIS is what accessibility can look like, & how this could benefit people with disabilities

— Katiechu (@PikaChulita) February 1, 2021

Many people joined and narrated stories about people who could benefit from the shoes. The inclusive hands-free shoes come in three colours — white, black, and multicoloured — and are lightweight. Apart from the laces, the overall look of the shoes is very similar to the standard Nike sneaker. However, it is said that the upgraded line was designed keeping the athletes with disabilities in mind, but now Nike encourages it to everyone in the sport. “The original concept around the shoe was to support our adaptive athletes better, but we just quickly, throughout the process, found that the shoe was really universal,” said one designer in a “Behind The Design” video that Nike shared alongside the press release.

The GO FlyEase Sneakers will retail for $120 and be released via an invite to select Nike members on February 15. According to a tweet by Nike Service, “broader consumer availability” [is] planned for later this year.”

The fashion industry needs to explore and upgrade the trends into adaptive and inclusive design. With the industry continuously evolving, the industry must not overlook a section of society. 

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