Siri Can Tie and Untie Nike’s New Sneakers
Apple’s Siri voice assistant can tighten and release the laces on Nike’s new Adapt Huarache sneakers. Nike’s FitAdapt software and Nike Adapt app turn the shoes into another voice-controlled Internet of Things device.
Siri’s Smart Sneakers
The Adapt Huarache is just the latest version of the sneaker, which first came out in 1991. The biggest difference is a small motor hidden in the middle of the shoe and the LED lights on the bottom. Once the shoes are connected via an app to an Apple Watch or iPhone, wearers can simply ask Siri to tighten or loosen the
laces, as well as change the colors of the LEDs. The new will launch on Sept. 13.
Nike’s vision of how people will use the shoe software to adapt to their circumstances during the day is very reminiscent of how people use smartphone voice assistants to adjust audio setting in headphones. According to the Nike announcement, connecting to Apple Watches and Siri “propels Nike FitAdapt into the fast-paced, quick-shifting world of the everyday athlete — offering the personalized comfort needed in, say, the sprint to catch the bus, before seamlessly shifting fit as you settle into an empty seat with a sigh of quiet relief.”
It is worth noting that the Siri voice commands for the sneaker can also be adjusted with the Siri Shortcuts app. Apple rolled out a significant update to the custom command creator to make it more intuitive earlier this summer. Users can enable custom commands with a tap on the screen of suggested phrases and the Parameters feature prompts Siri to ask follow-up questions like the one in the screenshot. The point is smoothing interactions between Siri and users, turning the commands into a more personalized experience.
This isn’t Nike’s first time combining voice assistants and sneakers. Google and Nike worked with R/GA and RAIN to launch its Adapt BB sneakers in a real-time sale through Google Assistant during an NBA basketball game earlier this year. The sneakers are also self-lacing via an app but do not include the voice control of the Adapt Huarache. Meanwhile, Reebok recently had its own voice assistant-run raffle for its newest Club C sneakers.
The partnership with Apple fits with Nike’s history of applying technology to its product line. Apple’s iOS started as the exclusive platform for the Nike+ app more than ten years ago. After several years on Nike’s board, Apple CEO Tim Cook became Nike’s lead independent director in 2016.