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A Brief History Of The Power-Lacing Nike Mag

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The power-lacing Nike Mag is finally releasing. As you probably know by now, today news broke that Nike will be releasing the famous self-lacing sneaker that’s been almost thirty years in the making tomorrow, October 4th. With what will surely go down as the biggest sneaker release in history to date, let’s look back at the legendary power-lacing shoe from its fictional beginnings to its highly anticipated reality.

1989 – The Legend Begins

In 1989, the sequel to the smash hit 1985 sci-fi/comedy/action film Back To The Future released in theaters. A beloved film on many levels, Back To The Future Part II holds a special place in the hearts of anybody interested in sneakers for one obvious reason: power-lacing Nike sneakers featured in the future segment of the story. Strictly a fictional sneaker when the film released (the power lacing was done through special effects), sneakerheads and die-hard fans of the BTTF series were clamoring for a real version of the shoe for years. Would Nike ever actually release the power-lacing Mag?


2008 – Nike Hyperdunk “Mag”

Almost twenty years later, the Mag was back…sort of. To promote the release of their revolutionary new Hyperdunk basketball shoe in 2008, Nike created a colorway inspired by the Mag—which was actually partially the inspiration for the Hyperdunk’s design. The “McFly” Hyperdunk was sold in very limited quantities and included a special release in Los Angeles complete with Kobe Bryant showing up in a DeLorean. The Hyperdunk wouldn’t be the last shoe to receive a Mag-inspired colorway, with other models including the Nike SB Zoom Tre AD and Dunk Low, Hypermax, and Hyperdunk 2011 all featuring the grey and light blue scheme. No power laces anywhere, though.



2011 – The Mag Becomes a Reality

Announced at a special event at 21 Mercer Nike Sportswear New York City on September 8th, complete with a reproduction of the time machine on display, Nike reveals that the Mag will actually become a reality. But this wasn’t just any regular retail release—the Mag would be available in only 1,510 pairs sold exclusively on eBay to benefit the Michael J. Fox foundation for Parkinson’s Disease research.


Over 9 Million Dollars Raised

Sought out by sneakerheads, celebrities, and pretty much anyone with an extra couple thousand dollars to blow on sneakers, every auction for the Mag ended at an unsurprisingly steep price. The charitable release was a complete success, raising 4.7 million dollars for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. As you can see by the info-graphic here, the lowest-priced pair went for $2,500, while at the other end of the spectrum, somebody paid just short of $10,000 for their size 10 pair. On top of the funds raised by the shoe sales, Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his wife Anne Wojcicki announced they would match the final total of the auctions, doubling the final proceeds to $9.4 million.

But No Power Lacing

So the dream of the Mag was made a reality, benefited a good cause, and even gave Christopher Lloyd an opportunity to come back as Doc Brown for the highly entertaining “commercial” for the shoe, but there was still one problem: no power laces. Tinker Hatfield makes a cameo in the video to hint that the Mag would indeed be back featuring power laces in 2015, but this would only be partially true, as no power-lacing Mag was ever released in 2015. However, there was at least one pair of power-lacing Mags in existence in 2015—the pair Michael J. Fox himself modeled on October 21st, 2015. If that date sounds familiar to Back To The Future fans, that’s because it’s the day Marty and Doc visit in the future within the film. Many expected Nike to be releasing the power-lacing Mag on what fans christened as Back To The Future Day, but Michael J. Fox demonstrating his pair was as close as we got.


Tinker Confirms 2016 Release

In a hand-written and illustrated letter to Michael J. Fox that was made public on Back To The Future Day on October 21st, Tinker Hatfield confirmed that the power-lacing Mag would release in 2016. It’s now October once again, which has created almost another year of anticipation and left everyone wondering if and when they are still releasing. But it looks like we’ve finally got an answer…


2016 – The Wait Is Over

“Power laces, alright!” After almost thirty years of anticipation, the self-lacing Nike Mag is finally here. Those roughly twenty-seven years of anticipation from fans coincided with the years Nike has been working on the technology for the shoe, which is no small feat of engineering and design. What began as a cool design by Tinker Hatfield and some movie magic from Hollywood is now a reality, and without a doubt the most epic sneaker of all time.