Nike divides internet with first 'hands-free' shoe, the Go Flyease

Nike FlyEase sneakers
The FlyEase sneakers are the company's first lace-free shoes. Photo credit: Nike.

Nike has released its first pair of laceless sneakers which can easily be put on and taken off without needing to use your hands. 

The brightly-coloured Go FlyEase sneakers are worn simply by stepping into the shoe so it snaps into place, before stepping on the heel to remove them. 

Front Office Sports tweeted a GIF of a person stepping in and out of the shoes in a post which has racked up over 150,000 likes. 

In a statement to CNN, a Nike spokesperson said the shoes have been designed to "serve the broadest range of active lifestyles possible - whether the wearer is champion fencer Bebe Vio, a student racing to class or a parent with their hands full". 

Paralympian and member of the design team Sarah Reinertsen said people with disabilities, pregnant women and busy parents were among those who inspired the shoe concept.

"If you design for the most extreme needs, then you're unlocking benefits for everybody," she said. "If a shoe works for someone who has no hands, then it will work for people who have two hands."

According to Front Office, the technology was first launched in 2015 and inspired by a 16-year-old sufferer of cerebral palsy, who wrote a letter to the company asking for an accessible shoe design for those who struggle with tying laces.

But the shoe has split the opinion of consumers. Some are praising the move, while others can't help cracking jokes about the design. 

"Nike, my legal team will be in contact," one person tweeted, accompanied by a video of them slipping their feet into a pair of soft loaders, no hands required. 

"Someone will mistakenly step on the back of your shoe in the market and your leg will fly out," another person pointed out. 

Others observed that the high cost of the shoes means many who they're intended for may be excluded from buying. 

"I get that everyone is saying these are perfect for disabled people but I wonder how a lot of them will be able to afford these as Nike aren’t always affordable for everyone," one tweet read.  "Another helpful item that will be classed as a luxury."

There's no doubt that comfortable sneakers and slip-on shoes are certainly spiking in sales following the worldwide lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Last year Nike reported its online sales soared 84 percent as people snapped up activewear and casual shoes.