Nike Does Wearable Technology Right With The Adapt BB

Nike had already mastered the art of comfortable sneakers. Since the mid-2000s, they’ve focused on the challenging tech aspect of their products as they’ve strived to pull real-time data from its consumers and athletes to further shape the vision of the perfect shoe. For roughly two decades, the sportswear brand out in Beaverton has placed heavy focus on marrying the physical world with the digital landscape, and it’s been a series of trials and errors in an effort to figure out what simply works and what doesn’t.

In 2006 they took the first step into this uncharted territory with Nike+, a wireless system that tracked data from runs and workouts through modules embedded inside the shoes. Nike+ continued to evolve as the years went by, and in 2012 came the debut of its most ambitious iteration called the Sport Pack, enhancing the analytical aspect of a workout with quantifiable stats while raising prices to an unheard of price-tag of $250. Jaw-dropping to some, cringeworthy for others. Successful products typically simplify, and although the overall idea was impressive and fairly well-executed, people weren’t quite ready for that level of digital integration. In that same year, Nike entered the wearable technology market with the FuelBand, a monitor that measured activity with an in-house currency called “Fuel”. While it was a beautiful accessory, it was painfully inconsistent and in two years it existed no more.

The Nike Adapt BB, a highly-engineered and thoughtfully futurized basketball sneaker, is remarkably simple and easy to use – a testament to just how effectively the brand executed this idea. The connection between the footwear and the app is almost symbiotic as it responds to the straightforward commands with the tiniest amount of delay. The Adapt BB is designed to be fully modular as consumers can customize the fit on each individual shoe by adjusting the levels through the app, while the ability to save and activate presets allows the shoe to act like the driver’s seat of a modern car. Additionally, a four-hour rest on the charging pod powers up the shoe for two whole weeks. The colorway is also kept clean and sleek to highlight the technology beneath the hood, but Nike added its signature flair inside the two nodules that can change colors with a simple tap on the app. Unlike the HyperAdapt 1.0 and even the Mag, the Adapt BB is constantly evolving as its firmware will update, and given its digital integration, Nike could use the information from users to inform the design of future footwear.

Speaking on the design aesthetic, the Adapt BB looks and feels like a Kobe signature model. Much of Eric Avar’s sleek design language is evident in this model, and it’s clear that the cutting edge style pairs well with technology-driven identity. It’s not the lightest of basketball shoes out there because in addition to the Cushlon midsole, rubber outsole, and woven components that make up a traditional hoops sneaker, there are several other moving and stable parts that add to the curb weight. It is by no means a heavy beast and hours of wear-testing by trusted athletes as well as NBA stars such as Jayson Tatum, De’Aaron Fox, Kyle Kuzma, and more deem these as high performing a shoe as any other out in the market. The $350 price-tag, less than half that of the HyperAdapt 1.0, is right on the mark when considering the costs of other wearable gear on the market, and if you strip away the mechanism, you still end up with a top-flight basketball sneaker designed by the best.

The Nike Adapt BB pre-order is now sold out. It releases again on February 14th at Charlotte All-Star Weekend, February 17th, on Nike.com, and February 19th worldwide.

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Nike Does Wearable Technology Right With The Adapt BB

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