Nike Mag: Exploring the Iconic Power-Lacing Shoe from ‘Back to the Future’

By: Ann Burdett

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Nike Mag

In 2015, Nike released the Nike M.A.G. (Magnetic Anti Gravity), a sneaker with power lacing.

The sneakers were created in collaboration with Nike to be used by slamball players. Nevertheless, because filming this scene would have been too expensive, Marty McFly Jr.’s outfit instead included the shoes.

The special effects needed to bring this future technology to life were relatively straightforward, according to Bob Gale’s explanation at the end of the Future Part II commentary. In the opening scene, Marty dons the shoes and sets his feet on the ground. For the second attempt, the false asphalt platform that the props shoes were affixed included holes through which the laces ran.

A stagehand would tighten the laces as needed, and a light would turn on to illuminate the Nike logo. The subsequent addition of electronic sound effects completed the illusion.

To make the movie icon a reality for collectors, Nike teamed up with Michael J. Fox Institute for Parkinson’s Research in 2011. The shoemaker got approval to make 1500 shoes, all sold at eBay charity auctions.

Mag is not suitable for vigorous activity or relaxation, claims Nike. Their primary purpose was the exhibition.


On October 21, 2015, Marty McFly received such shoes from Dr Emmett Brown, who generated them from a sizable future Nike Shoe bag he was carrying inside the DeLorean.

Marty managed to keep the shoes when evading Griff’s group on a hoverboard. Later, while Doc picked up Jennifer Parker from her new home, he returned to his ordinary shoes.


The first in a storyline of movies, Back to the Future, was a financial triumph. The second instalment in the series, partially set during the futuristic year of 2015, requested shoe designer Tinker Hatfield’s work in 1989. The shoe has features including self-fastening laces and light-up panels.


Tinker Hatfield was interested in an internet petition that requested the reintroduction of the sneakers more than 15 years later. For over six years, he and footwear pioneer Tiffany Beers laboured on the redesign, having to start over around three times. After several hours of labour, the shoes were an exact reproduction of

 Marty McFly’s 1989 Nike M.A.G.s.

The shoes have a 3,000-hour rechargeable internal battery, an electroluminescent outsole, and advanced materials. These are Nike’s first pair of footwear with rechargeable batteries. Despite the absence of power laces, a vital component of the shoes in the movie, Nike said they “took cues from the film” while creating the shoe.

Facts About Nike Mag

A limited edition of 300 sets of Hyperdunk McFly sneakers, which drew inspiration from the Nike M.A.G. power-lacing shoes were introduced by Nike in 2008.

Nike submitted many patent applications between 2008 and 2013 for footwear featuring automated lace-up/fastening and lighting systems, indicating that shoes like the Nike M.A.G. may be available before 2015.

To support The Michael J. Fox Fund for Parkinson’s Research, Nike announced on September 9, 2011, that they would auction 1,500 limited-edition sets of 2011 Nike M.A.G. replica sneakers from September 9 through September 18. Another ten pairs, presented in luxurious presentation boxes, were offered only by Nike at worldwide live events. According to Nike, despite being “exact reproductions down to the shapes of the upper, the shining L.E.D. panel, and the fluorescent N.I.K.E. in the strap,” they had two key differences: more foam support in the knee and toe box for improved comfort, and no power-lacing mechanism.

2016 Launch

According to Tinker Hatfield’s studies, basketball players were injuring their feet by tying their shoes excessively tightly during both on- and off-court competitions while he was working with Nike. He pondered whether it was possible to do away with it and create shoes that automatically tighten to fit your foot precisely. At that time, he began developing a self-lacing technology that would eventually go by the acronym E.A.R.L. (Electro Adaptive Reactive Lacing).

When it first came into the market, the technology’s first use was to be on a pair of running shoes. But Tinker Hatfield ultimately included it in the Nike Mag to satisfy consumer demand.

 The Nike Mag self-lacing version was then introduced on October 21, 2015, the same day Marty McFly travelled into the Future in Back to the Future Part II and the plan to go on sale on March 20, 2016.

The release was on hold until October 4, 2016. In October 2015, Nike sent the first pair of sneakers to Michael J. Fox. On October 4, 2016, Nike launched an auction for the Nike Mag using the RallyUp fundraising website. Tickets cost $10 (unlimited entries). However, only 89 pairs were up for grabs. Every penny would go towards funding Parkinson’s disease research.

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