Photo courtesy of Nike 

Nearly 30 years ago, Nike was approached to collaborate on a movie that would feature scenes set in a futuristic world. The film Back to the Future set its sight on the far-away year of 2015, choosing October 21 as the day its hero, Marty McFly, arrives in the future.

At the time, Nike was challenged to imagine sneakers that would suit the inhabitants of this new civilization. Nike’s innovation team, who ordinarily look to athlete insight and technology to project the future of sport, took that task a step further to create the Nike Mag lacing system.

Integrating this hands-free lacing system into the shoe design became an enduring icon of American pop culture. Nike, Inc. President and CEO Mark Parker said, “We started creating something for fiction and we turned it into fact, inventing a new technology that will benefit all athletes.”

In late October 2015, Nike delivered the actualized shoes as a gift to Michael J. Fox, the actor who played the time-traveling McFly.


The Nike Mag innovation advances what was coined “power laces,” combining the archetype invention with digital technology. This individually responsive system senses the wearer’s motion to provide adaptive, on-demand comfort and support. However, Nike isn’t stopping there. The company plans to move past this first iteration of the futuristic system, by continuing to test the technology across different sports. Feedback from testing will go into new evolutions of the Nike Mag footwear.

“By imagining the future, we create it. Product that comes alive, with on-demand comfort and support when you need, product that senses you and adapts to you is right around the corner,” added Parker.

The 2015 Nike Mag is a limited edition release, being available only through auction. All proceeds will benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, as a celebration of the shoe’s most popular wearer —  the original McFly. Specific details on the auctions will be posted to Nike News and via Twitter @Nike in spring 2016.