Your $350 Nike self-lacing sneakers aren’t as smart as you hoped

Velcro might have been a better choice.

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]

Your $350 Nike self-lacing sneakers aren't as smart as you hoped

On the latest “Smashing Security” podcast we discussed the merits (or otherwise) of Nike’s innovative Adapt BB sneakers – wirelessly-charged self-lacing shoes.

With our most cynical heads on, we imagined a future where Nike would be able to track shoe owners and collect their personal information – data that could potentially be monetised.

Smashing Security #116: 'Stalking debtors, Facebook farce, and a cyber insurance snag'

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Little did we know that within hours of recording, owners of the Nike’s “smart” sneakers would be up in arms that their $350 footwear had been bricked by a faulty update to the Android version of the shoes’ app.

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(Of course the shoes have an app, how else would you expect to check their battery life, or customise the lights on their side? Sheesh.. keep up)

Disgruntled wearers took to social media and the Google Play store to vent their fury.

Nike app complaints

Welcome to 2019, when people can heard uttering phrases like “My left shoe won’t even reboot.”

And it is a problem. You see, the Nike Adapt BB sneakers don’t provide real physical laces, which would have been a useful backup if you wanted to use the shoes when an update has bricked your shoes.

As you can imagine, this is something of an own-goal for Nike. And you have to feel sorry for its poor technical support staff who find themselves in the ridculous position of trying to tell owners how to reboot their shoes in case it helps resolve the problem.

Nike advice

Nike says it is working on a fix, but it’s uncertain when a patch will be rolled out to consumers. iPhone users are said not to be affected.

Sometimes simple is better than “smart”.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

3 comments on “Your $350 Nike self-lacing sneakers aren’t as smart as you hoped”

  1. coyote

    'Welcome to 2019, when people can heard uttering phrases like “My left shoe won’t even reboot.”'

    Thank you Graham for the very much needed laugh. That's a classic and so much so I’m tempted to save it in a fortune file of mine. You say simple is better than smart though? Well you quoted 'smart' which is good. But that's because 'smart' technology is actually something else. I put it to something like this years ago: It's as smart as the dumbest of the designer and the user.

    Doesn't leave much hope now does it? Clearly not as the article demonstrates. And many other issues demonstrate too.

  2. coyote

    Oh and you left out a 'be' – just as a note. In my laughing I missed that completely. I’m still laughing actually. Not just at the way you put it but the very idea – the utter stupidity and ridiculousness – of having 'smart' shoes.

  3. Claudio

    So funny on so many levels; not just for the desperate comments of the winging snowflakes, who bought this expensive tat, but also for Nike, whos humiliation, surely is now must be complete- imagine having to send a set of instructions to customers, so that they can "reboot thier shoes"!

    Ah the nostalgia-remember when we used to "do up our own shoe laces".

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