Sport never stands still and Nike recently launched their FlyEase running shoe with a distinctive heal zip, making it that bit easier for athletes with impairments to get ready to attack the track.

Able Magazine were invited to speak with Paralympian, Sophie Hahn and Nike designer, Tobie Hatfield.

How are preparations for the Tokyo Paralympics going, Sophie?

We are training and making preparations for Tokyo 2020 and I’ve had a fantastic time, I have been lifting heavier weights in the gym than ever and on the track, everything is going to plan, so I am excited for next year. I can’t believe how quickly it’s come round!

Have you been using the FlyEase shoes?

They are really comfortable and really easy to use. I have been trying them out ready for Tokyo and they were really good, I am really happy with them.

They’re quick and easy to put on and you don’t have to worry about whether they are too loose or too tight. You just zip them up and you are good to go. I think they are really good for anyone that struggles with tying a shoelace. They are fantastic.

How did the Flyease design originate, Tobie?

Well, the zipper design came from me, but like anything at Nike, no matter who comes up with the idea, you need a team to be able to execute it. So, I started to work with a pattern engineer to really focus in on how to put a curved zipper on a shoe, which was not easy, actually, because zippers are usually straight. Not only is it curving around, it’s curving around a compound, which is at least two curves and so it was a difficult task but we were able to finally execute it.

Could this idea become mainstream in the way that Velcro fastenings did?

Well, I never like to predict the future.

I think to a lot of people it makes a lot of sense. It seems like there is potential for broad use of it, let’s put it that way.

Are Nike going to make this shoe available in all outlets?

Well, it’s going to be available all over Europe, but on a digital platform, so from That’s how we are starting and then we will see from there how we proceed.

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