Nike meets universal design again. They’ve improved their original Flyease design (see below) with a new shoe concept. They’ve found a different way of making the shoe easy to get on and off. Anyone experiencing trouble bending over, difficulty with fastenings, or just needing a speedy on and off will find this design excellent. When they are past their best they would make a great gardening shoe too – slip on and slip off at the door. Like all good designers who take a universal design approach, they’ve improved on their original design.
The secret of the new design is the way the shoe opens up to put on. The weight of the foot closes the shoe. Taking off is easy too. By stepping on the heel of the shoe (don’t we all do that anyway?) the shoe pops open. The Flyease Go shoes are an excellent example of universal design. They are easy, convenient and intuitive to use – for everyone. Well almost. Much will depend on the range of sizing.
There is also a YouTube video where the designer explains how they work and what the design concerns were. A great piece of engineering.
Many people struggle with laces, bending down to get shoes on and off, or poor grip because of arthritis. Velcro is still the industry standard for “functional” shoes, but fashion and style seems to have eluded the designers. It is the same with many things that are “good for people with disability”. But Nike has come to the rescue. While shoes for playing basketball aren’t for everyone, Nike has come up with a stylish version that is highly adjustable and easy to get on and off. It is a good example of universal design with style. However, Nike is an expensive brand. But perhaps some of the design ideas could be picked up by others? The shoe features a drop down back section and wrap around fastening section.
There are lots of reasons to use universal design principles when designing clothing and footwear. And back fastenings in dresses should have disappeared with the laced up corset (along with the maids who fastened them).
Watch the video below of the designers talking about the brief they were given – to design a shoe suitable for an athlete and a person with a disability.
What about a recycled shoe? Adidas has found a way to recycle your shoes – send them back and you get a recycled pair. Interesting concept that could take off with other products.