Could the Nike Adapt BB Usher in a New Era of Technology in Sneakers?

Nike grabbed headlines this week when it unveiled the Adapt BB, its bold and innovative self-lacing basketball sneaker. But given the basketball shoe market’s struggles and consumer desire for lifestyle rather than performance, will the model spark brands to shift their focus to introducing new technologies? Four experts weigh in.

Matt Powell, senior sports industry adviser at The NPD Group Inc.

“I really don’t think so. I think the consumer today is not oriented toward innovation. We’re very much grounded in this athleisure cycle right now, and technical innovation in shoes is not what the consumer is looking for.”

Victoria Chiang, sneaker influencer

“It’s a neat, novel concept driving some much-needed buzz to the basketball category, but honestly, I don’t think it will kick off a new wave of innovation. Maybe a splash. It just seems convoluted, cumbersome, gadgety — not to mention pricey — and I don’t think the young consumer is checking for that. However, I think it will at least kick off a wave of outside-the-box, unconventional concepts from other sneaker brands.”

Ankur Amin, CEO of TGS (parent company to retailers including Extra Butter)

“Yes, it’ll most likely kick off a movement toward innovation. Nike and Adidas have already been working toward new technologies and innovation in design for the past few years. After this launch, I feel that other brands will also feel the need to innovate.”

Henry Francois, sneaker influencer

“The Nike Adapt BB will definitely kick off a new wave of innovation in sneakers. Nike introduced the self-lacing system in 2016 with the release of the Mag, and they dropped the HyperAdapt two years later, so they’ve been at it for a while. It will probably be a few years until we see another brand release a self-lacing sneaker. The question is, what brand will be next to deliver something we’ve never seen before? At the end of the day, if brands aren’t bringing something new to the table, then what are they really doing?”

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