For the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics, Nike introduced Friday that it’s designed inclusive and accessible gear for Group USA Olympians and Paralympians to put on on the medal stand. That features the brand new ACG Gaiadome FlyEase Boot, which could be slipped on and secured one-handed. The one situation is it appears to have inherited the FlyEase’s restricted availability as effectively. Whereas the remainder of the ‘match will likely be accessible for buy, the Gaiadome boot will likely be an athlete unique.

“For the official Team USA Medal Stand look in Beijing, we worked closely with the disability community, including current and former winter and summer Paralympians, in our design and testing process, and used inclusive design principles and methods to create gear that ensures every athlete who competes feels support in style from start to finish,” Nike stated in a press launch.

General, this interprets to an outfit that may be simply worn by these with restricted dexterity. For instance, the jackets embrace magnetic closures, outsized zipper pulls, and fish-trap pockets. In the meantime, the ACG Dri-Match ADV Path Pants have a quick-release magnetic buckle. For the ACG Gaiadome Boot, the design contains a zippered again entry and toggle laces.

The Gaiadome FlyEase Boot has an analogous design philosophy to the $120 Go FlyEase, which Nike launched final 12 months. These sneakers featured a “bistable hinge” that allowed an individual to placed on and take off the shoe hands-free. Whereas the FlyEase’s accessible design was extensively praised, Nike was closely criticized over the way it dealt with the launch. Restricted inventory and hype created a resale market across the footwear leading to costs capturing upwards of $400. The issue went viral on social media, and a few accused Nike of using disability as a marketing scheme with out assuring entry to those that would most profit from the sneakers.

It’s curious, then, that Nike has determined to make the Gaiadome FlyEase Boot an athlete unique. This isn’t the primary time Nike has made accessible footwear for Olympic athletes that then turned accessible for shoppers. For the Tokyo Summer time Video games final 12 months, Nike launched the Glide FlyEase. As an alternative of the progressive hinge, they featured a versatile heel that may snap into place as soon as an individual stepped into the shoe. Each the Go FlyEase and Glide FlyEase can be found for retail. The Verge requested Nike why the Gaiadome FlyEase Boot will likely be an athlete unique however didn’t instantly obtain a response.

In a super world, accessible design can be the default, as it benefits everyone. Boots are oftentimes tough for even able-bodied folks with full use of their arms. It’s comprehensible that Nike could also be eager to keep away from additional controversy, however hopefully, we’ll see the Gaiadome FlyEase Boot’s design integrated on future footwear that are accessible to the general public — and never in restricted portions.

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