Bricked Self-Lacing Shoes Showcase 21st Century First-World Problems


World hunger, trade wars, and political division may be all-too-prominent issues but the latest update for Nike's self-lacing Adapt shoes is causing Android users some very real grief, based on a wealth of new reviews for the associated app. Spotted by Twitter user Jonathan Warner, the new reviews point to a disturbing lack of quality assurance that has resulted in an update process that effectively bricks the smart functionality of the connected shoes.

For the vast majority of users who now own an old-school, rather than IoT-enhanced, pair of over-$400 Nike footwear, the problem is that the app no longer connects at all to the left shoe. The shoes are intended to tie themselves up to a perfect fit using a small engine inside the midsole. That pulls in the Flyknit and quad-axial mesh upper, tightening the laces conveniently without all the fingerwork.

The shoes also feature a nifty customizable LED light at the soles which no longer functions properly or allows setup since all of the connected features are controlled through the smartphone app. Charging presumably still works via the included wireless floormat charger, although there doesn't seem to be much point to that anymore at the moment.


These problems will likely remain all too common …for now

Other users on the Google Play Store are pointing to an error in the opposite direction from the majority, claiming that only the left shoe can be connected after the update but the problems present are neither surprising or likely to go away anytime soon.

That's in large part because these are all first-generation problem but, with prospects of rampant growth for the market segment, exploration of novel wearables probably shouldn't be expected to slow down. In fact, Gartner predicts that the smart clothing segment of the wearables market will grow to 19.91 million units shipped by 2022.


The estimation is further backed by predictions from IDC and Research and Markets reports. From IDC, the prediction is that wearables overall will grow by approximately 54.4-percent between 2018 and 2022. The latter report predicts 289.5 million units moved by 2023, compared to Gartner's just over 453 million units shipped by 2022. So while there is plenty of disparage in terms of growth expectation, it is still going to be a definitive upward trend by all accounts.

In any case, the problem will eventually resolve itself since software testing and similar processes will increase as more consumers get on board with wearables.

Why is this an Android-only problem?


As noted above, this issue with Nike specifically applies only to the Android version. That's partly because the smart clothing segment is so much smaller than other wearable markets. It's also partially because iOS users are more apt to pay for things whereas Android offers many of the same things for free via thanks to its open-source ecosystem and the development that spurs.

As a result of all of that, developers — including Google — do tend to pay more attention to the quality of iOS applications as opposed to Android apps.

Regardless of the reason and despite that this really is a first-world type problem, the issue with bricked shoes is not really acceptable. Nike hasn't reached out to explain itself or how it plans to rectify the situation with its customers but that won't likely remain the case for long.


For now, it may be more useful for those experiencing the problem to contact the company directly instead of depending on Play Store reviews to get the point across. An app review can only go so far toward correcting the problem with the now apparently utterly broken wearable.