Puma Releasing Self-Lacing Sneakers to Take on Nike
The “Back to the Future”-style Puma Fi will be paired to a smartphone via Bluetooth.
The German sportswear brand calls its high-tech kicks “Puma Fi.” Fi is short for “Fit Intelligence,” an interface designed to automate and tweak how the shoes fit to a wearer’s individual specifications.
Like Nike’s Swoosh-bearing Adapt BB, the Puma Fi can be paired to a smartphone via Bluetooth.
The biggest difference is that they don’t automatically tighten, but are instead adjusted by swiping up or down on a Fi module that houses a battery-powered micromotor and “cable system,” i.e laces.
It takes just an hour to charge them up for a week on a wireless charging plate.
With a breathable upper and industrial-grade fiber support system, Puma says the futuristic footwear is suited to the gym or the street, though the look is admittedly more utilitarian than stylish.
Fortune reports that the Puma Fi won’t be available until next year, but a select group of 20 fans and a few celebrities—including five-time Formula One champ Lewis Hamilton—will beta test them before they go on sale in spring of 2020 for $330. That’s $20 less than the cost of Nike’s Adapt BB, if you’re keeping track.
“We’re on the ten-yard line,” Charles Johnson, Puma’s global director of innovation, told Fortune.
“The product is working, we’ve got it functional but we really want to have some additional learning before we bring it to market.”’
Let the self-lacing sneaker wars begin–Back to the Future‘s Marty McFly would be proud.