Ever since Back to the Future in 1985, imaginations everywhere were captured by the self-lacing Nikes featured in the film. Many questions emerged: Would these sneakers ever see a release date? If Nike comes up with this self lacing technology, what would the price be?
These shoes ended up being some of the most expensive sneakers ever to retail, making up a big piece of the billion dollar sneaker pie. To understand why these shoes go for top dollar, we must first understand the history.
In 2011, we finally saw the first rendition of the dream come true as Nike unveiled the Air Mag we saw in the movies.
$92,000 for a sneaker: the 1989 MAG
In 2018, a single pair, exclusive, falling-apart sample of the MAG from 1989 went for an astonishing $92,000 even without the Nike self lacing technology.
A 20 year fast forward to the future brings us to a wider drop of the MAG which created a once in a lifetime bidding frenzy.
The 2011 Nike Air MAG: nearly $6 million raised ($2300-$10,000 initial price)
To the pleasant surprise of many Back to the Future fans and sneakerheads alike, the Nike MAG was unveiled at a charity auction on eBay. Those who couldn’t afford still watched, and those with the money were happy to show how much they had to flex with.
A total of $5.7million USD was raised over the span of 10 days, with a total of nearly 40,000 bids on 1500 pairs (150 pairs released each day). During this initial release, we saw an average sale of about $4,000, with a broad price range between $2,300 for a size 7 and $9959 for a size 10 (paragraph source). We’re glad this money went to an awesome cause: proceeds benefitted the Michael J Fox foundation for research of Parkinson’s disease, a debilitating situation that affects not only the actor himself but roughly 1 in 500 people (source).
Some years after the auction, any winner who wanted to sell a pair of the 2011 Original Mags could still cash out in a major way: pairs on flight club are seen at about $15,000, which would be over a $10,000 profit on top of the MAG’s non self-lacing price.
The 2016 Nike Self Lacing Air Mag: a record $200,000 for 1 pair of shoes
We were teased on October 2oth 2015 by Nike’s SNKRS app, the date coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the Back to the Future movie, which was also the exact date that Michael J Fox aka Marty McFly travelled forward to in the film.
A drop on the app didn’t happen when it looked like it would, and fans, many who actually had the deep pockets to buy these, were kept waiting to see the real deal self lacing pair in real life.
It was first said that the release would happen in March of 2016, but the wait ended up being nearly one full year.
Michael J Fox was seen trying these on, and they appeared to self lace just like they did in the movies.
It’s absolutely clear that behind the single 1989 release, the 2016 Nike self lacing MAG is the most valuable.
On October 11 2016, a super low odds draw occurred, with many of the 89 winners heading to eBay to raffle off their luck for as high as over $50,000.
Nike still has the page up here for the 2016 Air Mag describing what the draw process was like (here’s a post we made on how to increase your odds).
The bid amount for the final pair of shoes could have earned a Ferrari or Lamborghini instead: it was $200,000.
In the years following up to the time of this writing in 2019, numbers have raised to an astonishing $50,000 for a single pair of these functional pieces of art and history, with StockX.com showing an average sale of $25,000, significantly more than the 2011 release.
2016: The Nike Hyperadapt 1.0 with EARL Technology ($500-$1500)
In March of 2016 , Nike made fact fiction with the unveiling of the HyperAdapt 1.0 at a price of $720 USD.
Even with such a sky high retail pricetag, the resale market saw an opportunity with sales of $1000 and beyond for a few hundred dollars in profit for those involved.
After owning a pair of these, we could see that they’re somewhat of the equivalent of 1980’s brick phone a-la Gordon Gecko in the Hamptons in Wall Street.
The first iteration of the self lacing technology didn’t necessarily lace right when you stepped in them, and they proved to be inconveniently clunky.
E.A.R.L. : Electronic Adaptable Reactive Lacing
We are sad to say that the 2016 version of Nike’s E.A.R.L technology was a bit of an overpromise.
Here’s a quote directly from Nike’s website explaining what exactly E.A.R.L means/stands for:
“Nike E.A.R.L. (Electric Adaptable Reaction Lacing) is the technology that makes self-lacing shoes possible. It electronically adjusts the lacing, pressure and fit to the contours of your foot.”
But, you can’t simply step in and let these things mold onto your foot like a spandex glove.
There are (+) and (-) buttons to adjust any inefficiencies, and there’s a weirdness in how laborious the process is, including an old school whining engine that sounds more retro then futuristic.
As a wearer of this expensive piece of technology, it was easy to be paranoid about the well being of these shoes.
Can I really run in these freely as if they were normal, and what happens if I step in a puddle or want to clean these with water?
If they broke, who would you even talk to to fix these?
There were so many pieces and parts to the packaging as you can see below from a screenshot of a video on Nike’s website:
Most people who bought them might have tried them on once, or worn them indoors only at sneaker conventions.
In a way, they are a backward step forward for Nike, and props to them for releasing it to the public even when this model may not have been 100% ready.
We do have to admit that these kicks are nonetheless insanely cool and we’re happy that Nike brought them to the world, and that they’re continually improving on it as we will get to later on in this piece.
Prices of the 2016 Nike Hyperadapt 1.0
The original color of Black/White/Blue Lagoon, style code 843871-001 remains the most valuable, as it is the first release.
With different prices across the board from resale platforms, the cheapest shoes are on StockX where at the time of this writing, it’s possible to get a pair (maybe not in your size though) at retail or even slightly below at roughly $700-$1000.
Flightclub has a selection of sizes in the $1000 price range.
Many colors released afterwards, with some losing almost $200-$300 in resale value across different marketplaces.
Although we’re not sure where the price may go, at the time of this writing in early 2019, it’s all over the place.
On StockX, it’s losing value, with average drops across the board.
We see on Flightclub, Stadium Goods and eBay that there are still those willing to pay above retail for these.
It’s easy to imagine that these were expensive to manufacture, but it also seems like Nike is asking a whole lot because they know they can squeeze profit because of the resale market.
Perhaps these shoes are a good buy now since you can get pretty much any size at or below retail price on StockX.com as an alternative investment in 2019.
We’re left wondering then if Nike priced these wrong, and it seems now in 2019 with the 2.0 version, they were thinking the exact same thing.
Nike Hyperadapt 2.0: 2019 and Nike Self Lacing technology for $350 (resale price TBD)
An optimistic conference call with solid numbers set the tone that 2019 is set to be a great year for Nike.
One highlight from the September 2018 conference call was that the Hyperadapt would come as a round 2 in a way that would put the spotlight on the swoosh brand in a big way.
At a more reasonable price of $350, the 2.0 known as the Hyperadapt BB may sell out faster and command higher resale value profits than the first version.
If you’re reading this in early 2019, you have a chance of securing this release (check out our full post here on February 2019’s profitable drops which includes this Hyperadapt BB)
We’re not sure when their exact release date is, but for now you can check out our monthly reports about shoes with resale value and subscribe to our email list to be notified of when the drop will happen, and check out all of our resources so you can have an excellent shot at actually buying these directly from Nike.
Nike CEO Mark Parker also emphasized that this version would have an upgrade in functionality, with the hopes that professional athletes could use this technology to increase their game day performances.
We are excited to see how much Nike will advance this year and how its self lacing technology will impact the world of sports–this time maybe it’ll have value that matches its price.
This article is a small excerpt from Part 1: Knowledge of our 5 part 2019 Hypemaster Playbook, the ultimate guide on how to become a sneaker plug.