Only athletes will have access to Nike’s ACG Gaiadome FlyEase Boot

Nike announced Friday that it has designed accessible and inclusive gear for Team USA Paralympians and Olympians to wear at the medal stand at the Beijing Winter Olympics. The new ACG Gaiadome Gaiadome FlyEase boot, which can be slipped onto and secured one-handedly, is included in this list. It seems to have taken over the FlyEase’s limited availability. The rest of the ‘fit will still be available for purchase, but the Gaiadome boot is reserved for athletes only. Nike stated in a press release that Team USA Medal Stand will be designed and tested in Beijing with the assistance of the disability community. They also used inclusive design principles and methods to create gear that supports every athlete competing.
This outfit is easy to wear even for those with limited mobility. The jackets have magnetic closures, large zipper pulls, and fish trap pockets. The ACG Dri-Fit ADV Trail Pants feature a quick-release magnet buckle. The ACG Gaiadome Boot features a zippered front entry and toggle laces.
The Gaiadome FlyEase Boot is similar to the $120 Nike Go FlyEase. These sneakers had a “bistable hinge”, which allowed people to easily put on and take out the shoes without having to use their hands. Although the FlyEase’s design was highly praised, Nike was heavily criticised for its handling of the launch. The shoes were limited in stock and hyped up, which led to a resale marketplace that saw prices rise to $400. The issue quickly became viral on social media. Some accused Nike of using disability to market the shoes without ensuring access to those who would be most benefitted.
It is therefore quite curious that Nike made the Gaiadome FlyEase Boot exclusive to athletes. This isn’t the first time Nike made footwear accessible for Olympic athletes. Nike’s Glide FlyEase was introduced last year for the Tokyo Summer Games. They were not equipped with an innovative hinge but instead had a flexible heel that would snap into position once the foot stepped into them. Both the Glide FlyEase Boot and Go FlyEase Boot are available at retail. The Verge reached out to Nike for clarification on why the Gaiadome flyEase boot will be exclusive to athletes, but did not receive an immediate response.
Accessible design should be the default in an ideal world. It is a benefit to everyone. Boots can be difficult for anyone, even those who are able-bodied and have full use of their hands. Nike may want to avoid any further controversy. However, we hope to see the Gaiadome FlyEase Boot’s design on future shoes that are made available to the public in large quantities.

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