17-Oct-21 | News

Universal design leads to better products for everyone

A pair of Nike's hands free shoes

Nike’s hands-free shoe proves that universal design leads to better products for everyone

Nike’s Go FlyEase is the first sneaker you can slip on without bending over or using your hands at all.

“It’s improving people’s lives,” says Sarah Reinertsen, the former Paralympian and FlyEase Innovation Team manager.

The design relies on a breakthrough bistable hinge that’s built into the shoe’s bouncy outsole. That hinge essentially splits the shoe in two (Nike designers mocked up the first Go prototype by sawing a shoe in half). When the hinge is open, you can slide your foot into the toe box. Then, by pressing your weight down, the shoe snaps shut on your foot like a molded marshmallow. A tensioner band automatically wraps around the entire shoe to help hold it together.

The Go FlyEase is proof that universal design (design built to accommodate disabilities) can actually lead to a product that’s better for everyone.