To be honest, I never really cared if we ever get the self-lacing shoes Marty McFly rocked in Back to the Future (even though Nike promised it for next year) – I always considered the feature a novelty, at best. Seeing these Powerlace Auto-Lacing Sneakers, however, made me want to change my mind. The whole thing just seems so convenient.
Rather than require batteries like we always imagined self-lacing footwear will do, this one relies on a clever mechanical system of levers, cables, and the weight of your own feet, instead. That means, no electronic components to ever mess with, so there’s nothing to damage if the shoes get wet and no batteries to replace on a periodic basis.
As soon as you put your feet into the Powerlace, the system will slowly tighten the laces all on its own, so there’s no need to push a button or, god forbid, launch a smartphone app to trigger the darn thing. A small lever on the back of the shoe lets you easily adjust the tension of the laces, in case the automatic setting feels too tight or too loose, apart from allowing you to unlace everything with a single pull in order to take the kicks off. The laces are rated for up to 200,000 lacings (well more than the likely lifetime of the shoes), with a breaking strength of 250 pounds, so it’s going to require some serious force in order to get damaged (the scissors from your favorite multi-tool isn't likely to snip it).
It uses a durable and waterproof upper, with a full-length soft midsole and an abrasion-resistant non-marking sole. Other features include a firm heel counter, breathable inlet, and a soft-touch lining.
A Kickstarter campaign is currently running to fund Powerlace. Pledges to reserve a pair starts at $175.