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Nike’s adaptive lacing system is most tested design

Nike has given an insight into the testing process for the ‘adaptive lacing’ HyperAdapt 1.0, which is being rolled out globally after a limited-edition run.

The design has become the company’s most-tested product, with the process including the building of a specially adapted warehouse to house all the testing.

“We needed the lacing mechanism to work before we could even think about finalising the shoe’s design,” said Tinker Hatfield, Nike’s vice-president of design and creative concepts.

It took six months to perfect the lacing model, which was hooked to an engine and spring that provided the same amount of tension a shoelace sees during wear. 

“Once the lace engine passed our tests, we put it on a shoe,” says Hatfield. Each iteration went through about 50 different tests, which included putting the shoe in extreme heat and cold, blasting it with water, jumping in it and hooking it up to a computer-controlled system that would lace and unlace it hundreds of thousands of times. “We wanted to see what failed first and how it failed,” explains Hatfield.

The shoe was then worn and tested by runners and athletes for almost a year. “People constantly updated testing documents, and every day we made changes in the moment,” added Hatfield. “Build, test, revise, build. That was our motto. 

“We ran an accelerated long-term test that we watched live, and got immediate results that we entered into a live, sharable document so we could start to see patterns before the tests were even finished. The methods could benefit a variety of new products and will change how we test going forward.”

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