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Designing the Back to the Future Shoes


Designing the Back to the Future Shoes

When Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future Part II was released in 1989, it featured many futuristic things such as a flying Delorean, hoverboards, and a holographic Jaws 19 shark.

“Roads? Where we are going, we don’t need roads.”

Doc Brown

But it was the self-lacing Nike shoes Marty McFly was wearing that grabbed sneaker lovers’ attention. Maybe Christopher Lloyd’s famous line should have been – “Laces? Where we are going, we have power laces.”

Back to the Future shoes became iconic, with every young kid who watched the film daydreaming of their very own pair. They were so popular that fans lobbied Nike for years to make the shoes a reality. And in 2009, Nike filed a lacing system patent for an “Automatic Lacing System.”

And to commemorate that futuristic year after the film hit theatres, the Nike Air Mag was finally released in 2015.

How many pairs of Back to the Future shoes were made?

In 2011, Nike created 1500 replica pairs of the self-lacing shoes Marty McFly wore in the Back to the Future sequel. 

They were auctioned off for Michael J. Fox’s Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. The Nike shoe sale raised an impressive $4.7 million for the charity. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the self-lacing technology as seen in the film set in 2015. 

Long considered one of the greatest sneaker innovations and a pop culture phenomenon, the Nike Mags initially fascinated as a non-functional movie prop. 

Conceptualized by footwear innovator Tinker Hatfield over 30 years ago, battery technology finally caught up with Nike shoe designer ideas. And the automatic lacing capability was released in a new and improved pair of Back to the Future shoes in 2016. 

However, this time only 89 additional pairs of the ‘Hyper Adaptive’ Nike Mags were available via auction. With the original pair given to the actor who immortalized them on screen, Michael J. Fox.

The auction, which again benefited Fox’s Parkinson Research Foundation, raised $6.75 million. 

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How much are Marty McFly’s sneakers worth today?

While rare, you can get yourself a pair of Nike Mags in 2021 if you are willing and able to pay a small fortune. 

The 2011 version is available to buy for $15,500; the updated, much rarer 2016 Nike Mag will set you back a cool $50 – $70,000. 

So if you want to don a pair of Marty McFly’s to stop Biff from ruining the past, you will likely need to start saving now.

Who owns Nike Mags?

There have been a variety of celebrities seen wearing the Back to the Future shoes. These include:

  • Michael J. Fox
  • Former Kansas City Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie
  • Rapper/Actor Kid Cudi
  • British singer Tinie Tempah
  • Actor/writer/producer Seth Rogan wore a pair to the 2017 Academy Awards

“We started creating something for fiction, and we turned it into fact, inventing a new technology that will benefit all athletes. By imagining the future, we create it.”

Former Nike CEO Mark Parker on the footwear of the future. 
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