Adidas’ CEO unleashed a major criticism of Nike’s self-lacing sneakers

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Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted.
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AP/Michel Euler

Nike’s first mass consumer self-lacing sneaker, the HyperAdapt 1.0, is now available for purchase in two Nike stores in New York City, and it’s poised to change sneakers as we know them.

But the technology is not without its skeptics, and one very biased critic – the CEO of Nike’s chief rival, Adidas – has cast doubt on its usefulness.

“I don’t know if that’s a save-the-world product,” Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published in the paper on Thursday.

Nike’s innovations usually revolve around the athlete and the technology that could improve either performance or comfort – of which the self-lacing shoes are an extreme example. Adidas shares this focus, but its initiatives also have a slant toward sustainability, like its sneakers made from ocean plastic or another model that uses a biodegradable silk.

Nike has big hopes for its self-lacing technology, and CEO Mark Parker has gone as far as to compare the self-lacing sneaker tech with self-driving cars, saying in an interview with CNBC that it is a “good analogy” in terms of mainstream appeal.

Regardless, for now the HyperAdapt 1.0 is a niche product – a piece of halo-effect technology priced at $720. Just like with Nike’s other innovations, however, self-lacing sneakers will likely trickle down into cheaper models in some form.

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Nike’s HyperAdapt 1.0.
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Nike