There’s an old saying I’m sure you have heard. It goes something like this. “Necessity is the mother of invention.” In other words, if we need it, someone will create it. It’s as American as apple pie. This is particularly true if it looks like there could be a profit in it.
On the other hand, some inventions avoid necessity and go right for the wallet. Case in point: Nike Unveils Self-Lacing Basketball Shoe. I ran across this news item this morning and was immediately sucked in. A self-lacing basketball shoe… There might be exceptions along the way for some folks, but I’m placing this one in the “unnecessary” category.
Even the name is an oxymoron. Why do we have basketball shoes in the first place? I’ll tell you why. Exercise! Why do we need a pair of sneakers that are self-lacing. If you’d rather not bend over to tie your shoes, you’re probably not going to have the inclination to actually work out either.
These handy-dandy toe-huggers are operated by an app on your phone. How twenty-first century is that? They’ve been labeled, “smart shoes.” I guess I can’t argue with that moniker—although, I’m smart enough to have been tying my own shoes since I was in single digits (or was that double digits?). Well, anyway, I’ve been tying my own shoes for several decades now. I don’t think I need shoes that are smarter than me.
I remember when they started putting Velcro on tennis shoes to make it easier and quicker to don them. I also remember hearing the laughter as people made fun of those who actually bought them (probably because the only ones who wore them at the time were the elderly and little kids). Then they went to sneakers with eyelets for lacing but no laces at all. No one snickered at them (probably because these were in style with the young folks).
A New Level
Nike has taken all this to an entirely different level, however. I’m guessing no one will make fun of these new shoes. In fact, people will probably clamor for them. The price tag alone ($350) will set them apart as THE shoe to own—elite footwear for the metro-sexual. The thought of them alone puts my twenty-dollar Costco specials to shame. As they say, “Only in America.”
When John the Baptist announced the coming of the Messiah, he turned an interesting phrase to describe his arrival. He said, “After me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry” (Matthew 3:11). Now I know how he felt. If you’re worthy enough to own a new pair of Nike smart shoes, I would be reticent to even carry them across the room. It would be tantamount to borrowing someone’s Mercedes Benz. I’d be a nervous wreck the whole time I drove it for fear of putting a scratch in the paint job.
If you purchase a pair of these, can I be your friend?
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]