Nike discontinues self-lacing 'Back to the Future' shoes and removes app from App Store, Google Play

 The Nike Adapt bb sneaker.
Credit: Nike

There's nothing quite like the feeling of putting on your self-lacing Nike shoes that you spent $350 on and just knowing they work. The app provides all the custom adjustments you need via Bluetooth, and everything is excellent. That is until Nike reveals it's doing away with the app from Google Play and Apple's App Store.

Nike explained the details on its support site regarding the Adapt BB sneakers and their companion Adapt app being discontinued. "After five years, we're retiring the Adapt App and removing it from the Apple and Android app stores, globally, on August 6, 2024," reads the support post.

"Don't worry, your Adapt shoes will continue to work without the app." the company continues. However, Nike says that it is "no longer creating new versions of Adapt shoes”

The shoes have plenty of functionality directly on them, which will continue to work as before. But the "smart" part was the ability to connect to a phone via Bluetooth and control everything there. Thankfully, according to Nike's FAQ, at least some form of that will continue to work as long as users have the app on their phones before August 6.

Nike Adapt self-lacing shoes
Nike Adapt self-lacing shoes

"If you already have the Adapt App installed, it should continue functioning. You'll still be able to enjoy changing lights, lacing your shoes, setting personalized fits, gesture detection, and smart commands," explains Nike.

There are some drawbacks, though. Nike said users won't be able to move the functionality to a new phone, so the Adapt app will be gone if they upgrade or something happens to their existing phone.

Lighting, one of the core functions of the shoe, will stop working without the app. Nike says, "Your shoes will keep the light pack you selected last. If you didn't install the app, light will be the default color" once the user can no longer access the app. I guess sneaker owners need to be careful which light pattern they select before switching phones or deleting the app, as that's the one they'll be stuck with.

The support page provided a list of the functions that will work without the app: Power On, Check Battery Status, Adjust Your Fit, Save Your Fit, Unlace Shoes and Power Off.

While it's good that shoes will retain some of their core functionality, losing phone connectivity is a big deal, and it paints a grim picture of the future of smart clothing. These were an expensive pair of shoes, and much of the reason they cost so much is going away, which is bad news for buyers of the current shoes and people who might use this to avoid the next big thing in smart footwear or apparel.

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