Nike’s Jordan 11 Adapt is the coolest self-lacing sneaker you can buy

The shoe is making a return after its debut last year in a different color.

At the top of last year, the Air Jordan 11 Adapt became the first sneaker outside of Nike proper to feature the brand’s futuristic self-lacing technology. The upgraded shoe came as part of the Air Jordan 11’s 25th anniversary celebration, but now it’s set to make a return in a new color scheme.

The Air Jordan 11 Adapt will release just after Christmas in “Powder Blue,” a hue appropriate for the innovative tech that comes packed into one of the most celebrated Jordans of all time. Grey nubuck replaces the typical patent leather on the sneaker’s mudguard, atop which sits a faint blue upper that’s now webbed and translucent. Down low, an icy blue midsole is even richer in color than the usual semi-translucent rubber Jordan Brand likes to use.

While almost everything but the shape of the Air Jordan 11 has been retooled, what remains from 1996 is the carbon fiber plate that marked the first time Nike had ever used the material in a sneaker. Carbon fiber is now a mainstay in top-of-the-line running sneakers, showing just how ahead of its time the Air Jordan 11 was more than 25 years ago.

Jordan Brand
Jordan Brand
Jordan Brand

Why tie? — Nike is now five years into making self-lacing sneakers a reality in a journey that began with Back to the Future II in 1989. A self-lacing Air Mag sneaker was created just for the movie, but it was little more than a prop until Nike released a version of the shoe without the tech in 2011.

Five years later, Nike brought automatic lacing to life for the first time with a second release of the Air Mag in extremely limited quantities. Proceeds for the raffle went to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, and fittingly, the actor who played Marty McFly was the first person to get a pair.

That sneaker was still a bit of a novelty, and in 2018 Nike debuted its first functioning athletic shoe with self-lacing capabilities in the HyperAdapt 1.0. Adapt technology uses a custom motor and gear train to sense how much tension is needed for security and adjusts the laces accordingly. Snugness can also be fine-tuned through the use of switches on the midsole or a companion app.

The Adapt line has since expanded to include basketball sneakers, but Nike still uses the technology somewhat sparingly, making the new Air Jordan 11 Adapt a rare chance to adopt it. Wearing motorized sneakers won’t come cheap, as it’ll release for $500 on the SNKRS app at 10 a.m. ET December 28. But if you can afford it, why not indulge in an experience unlike any other?