I first saw the story on Twitter–Nike unveils first hands free trainers that don’t require you to bend down–clicked through and read, “Nike has unveiled its first hands-free shoe, meaning that it can be easily put on and taken off without the assistance of one’s hands. It is one of the first times that the sportswear giant has created a footwear product suitable for people with a range of physical abilities. Although the trainers have been designed with adaptive athletes in mind, and the campaign is being fronted by Paralympian champion fencer Bebe Vio, Nike says the style will also be useful for everyone from students or parents in a rush.”
A friend commented on Facebook, “A great example of how accessibility can benefit everyone. I’m sure so many moms (and dads) would find great help from this!”
I thought about my recent purchase of crocs, one of the virtues of which is the ability to kick them on and off easily for quick runs to the hot tub, or to the curb with our recycling. Bonus: They’re leopard print! Did I mention that?
I was filled with warm thoughts and happy feelings about access to fitness, inclusion, and universal design. I liked this story too, Nike’s New Hands-Free Sneaker Is Being Called a Win for Disability Design.
And then I started read the comments. There was lots of talk about lazy people, and fat people and how the world is ending now that shoe manufactures are pandering to people who don’t want to bend over and tie their own laces. So much judgement.
And that’s often the case with products at making tasks that can be tricky, for people with arthiritis, for example, easier. See Products mocked as “lazy” or “useless” are often important tools for people with disabilities.
My two cents:
These look terrific for all sorts of reasons, for all sorts of people. Yes, the elderly and people with disabilities and those carrying babies. But also the busy runner of errands and the teenager who likes to kick off their shoes. You do you.
Also, never read the comments.