Powerlace tries to bring the auto-lacing shoe to life

Even after all these years, it seems that Marty McFly's gadgets still inhabit the dreams of geeks, inventors, tinkerers, and visionaries, from the near-impossible time-traveling car, to the almost possible hoverboards, and now to self-tying shoe laces. Former Nike designer Tinker Hatfield, who conceived Marty's "power laces", predicted that this type of footwear would be possible by 2015. Given the timetable for this crowdfunded campaign, that might actually come true. And what better name to call it than, what else, Powerlace, the auto-lacing shoe.

Potential trademark disputes aside, Powerlace could potentially make that decades-old dream come true. No, you won't be seeing laces that magically float and tie themselves into knots. Like in the Back to the Future version, the laces are already set in place. All that's required is tightening the laces, keeping them in place, and loosening them when needed. All without strangling the wearer's foot and without adding unnecessary weight to an already hefty footwear.

Powerlace tries to accomplish all that without batteries, gears, wires, motors, or fuss. All it needs is your own body weight. Once you put your foot in, the pressure you exert will be applied on the Presser hidden inside the midsole. This pressure is then transmitted to the lacing mechanism as power that will tighten the strings. To loosen them up, a lever at the lower back of the shoe can be activated. As everything works via mechanical parts, there will always be fears of wear and tear. For that purpose, Powerlace has been tested to survive 200,000 lacing cycles just in its latest benchmark.

Now for the downer. Powerlace isn't a finished product you can buy off shelves or online just yet. It's still in the very early stages of its Kickstarter campaign, so early that it hasn't even reached a fourth of its $650,000 goal. That said, they still have 55 days to go and may very well reach it, depending on the level of trust and wanting that fans have for this contraption. If all goes well, it could ship in May 2015. But extra bad news for women, as the shoes are currently only available for the males of the species. They do plan on designing a pair for women, but haven't indicated when.

SOURCE: Kickstarter