As the sneaker industry's innovation arms race continues to heat up, Nike may be working on one of its most ambitious technologies to date.
Digital Trends recently discovered a patent filed by the brand in early May, in which it describes a sneaker design featuring a 'rotatable conveyor element.' Built into the shoe's sole, the mechanism would engage the wearer as the foot enters and draw it into the space. The patent also includes a controller device of some sort that would control the mechanism once the shoe is on—possible an entirely separate piece of equipment or a built-in-switch.
Nike is already in the mechanized sneaker market, having launched the auto-lacing HyperAdapt 1.0 back in 2016. This conveyor belt concept could also work in unison with Nike's Flyease technology, a Velcro fastening system introduced by the brand in 2015 to assist athletes with disabilities.
The filing of a patent doesn't mean the conveyor belt sneaker is confirmed for a future release, just that the idea is being developed and protected by Nike at the moment.