Anyone who has been paying attention to the activities of the Michael J. Fox Foundation cannot fail to have noticed a certain amount of fuss over a shoe. A “sneaker”, as they call it in North America. Here in the UK, we might call such a shoe a “trainer”, albeit with one caveat – which I’ll come to later.
The genesis of this shoe – the Nike Mag – happened in 1989 as part of the production of the film Back to the Future II. The film people called Nike – whom we should probably call the shoe people, although I don’t want to make that sound too definitive – and asked for a futuristic shoe (the future, in this case, was 2015). Nike got all excited and delivered the Nike Mag, which was very tall and had all sorts of pseudo-magical features.
Apparently, people were rather struck by this shoe.
Anyway, fast forward 22 years (or, if you prefer, rewind four years from “the future”) and Nike have done something wonderful. No, they haven’t made a shoe that powerlaces, nor one that automatically adjusts to the size of your foot; it doesn’t “magnetically” adhere to flying skateboards, nor does it allow you to walk on the ceiling. But it does light up, and does look like Marty McFly‘s footwear in the movie. But that’s not the wonderful thing. No, the bit that I think is wonderful is that Nike developed the 2011 version of this shoe off their own bat, and then offered the proceeds of the first 1,500 pairs (to be auctioned on eBay.com) to the Michael J. Fox foundation (who were happy to accept). Okay, I know that they are going to get loads of good publicity, but these shoes stand to generate quite a lot of money, and it seems – from “the full story” video – that it was Nike’s idea.
Here’s the caveat: the shoes aren’t designed for sports. They are – perhaps not surprisingly – a fashion shoe. Oh, and the first pair sold? They were won by UK rap star Tinie Tempah*. Or so it says here. And here it says that they sold for over $4,000. That’s well over £2,500.
There are 9 official videos related to this story:
- 2011 Nike MAG (“Introducing…”)
- 2011 Nike MAG | Back for the Future (Movie-style Trailer)
- 2011 Nike MAG | The Full Story
- 2011 Nike MAG | The Details
- 2011 Nike MAG | A Look Behind the Scenes
- The Nike MAG | The story behind the McFly Jacket
- Back for the Future – A Message from Michael J. Fox
- Maestro Knows: It’s about time | Nike MAG (I have no idea who or what “Maestro” is, but he gets to go behind the scenes at Universal Studios and Nike in this one. Includes Michael J. Fox’s message.)
- Tinker Hatfield – Designing The Nike MAG (Very, very short)
* I’m listening to Tinie’s “Pass Out” from 2009, and I’m struck by the line “I’ve been to Southampton but I’ve never been to Scunthorpe”. How very British. For the record, I‘ve been to Southampton, too… and I can’t specifically remember having been to Scunthorpe. But I might have been there, because I have been to several places in Lincolnshire. Maybe I’ve been through the town.