Nike is releasing a limited collection of sneakers similar to those worn by Michael J. Fox's character Marty McFly in the 1989 film "Back To The Future - Part II."
Nike said in a statement obtained by OnTheRedCarpet.com that it will auction off 1,500 pairs of the 2011 Nike Mag shoes on eBay, beginning on Thursday, September 8, at 5:30 p.m. ET. Proceeds are set to go to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, a charity that promotes efforts to find a cure for Parkinson's disease, an ailment the 50-year-old actor has suffered from for at least 20 years.
Fox taped an interview for "The Late Show with David Letterman" on Thursday to promote the Nike Mag sneakers. The show's Twitter page featured a photo of the actor alongside the message: "Michael J. Fox shows Dave the new Nike 'Back To The Future' shoes (no Power Laces)."
It is unclear if and when Nike will sell the shoes in stores.
"The 2011 NIKE MAG shoe was designed to be a precise replica of the original from "Back to the Future II," Nike's statement said. "The aesthetic is an exact match, down to the contours of the upper, the glowing LED panel and the electroluminescent NIKE in the strap. The 2011 NIKE MAG illuminates with the pinch of the 'ear' of the high top, glowing for five hours per charge."
In the "Back To The Future" films, McFly and his friend, a scientist named Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown, played by Christopher Lloyd, use a DeLorean car that functions as a time machine to travel through time to try and change events in their past and future. The final movie was released in 1990 and was set in the Wild West.
The second film is set in 2015 and features the sneakers, which are also referred to as Air Mags and lace themselves onto McFly's feet when he steps into them.
In the spring of 2009, Nike secured patents for the technology to produce the futuristic footwear, which would feature an automatic lacing system.
The company has not explained how a Nike Mag shoe is secured. It features four straps across the front and a larger one around its opening.
Tinker Hatfield, the company's vice president of design and innovation, told EA Sports in a video interview in May that the sneakers from the film symbolized Nike's future: "This shoe actually laces itself. It lights up, it sort of senses the motion that you're going through in a sports activity. I think you could probably start to see products like this pop up in the future and really sort of take advantage of new technology in a whole different light."
The eBay auction of the Nike Mag shoes will run for 10 days and 150 pairs of the 2011 NIKE MAG shoes will be made available each day via eBay's Fashion Vault, Nike said, adding: "Thanks to a previous 50 million dollar match given to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, all donations will be matched, effectively doubling the contributions from the auction."
Speculation about the release was fueled with the announcement of a special Nike press conference in Los Angeles that is set to take place on Thursday. The websites NiceKicks and SlashGear posted photos of the event's invitation, which promises "an unveiling that could change the course of time."
Executive producer Frank Marshall had also hinted about a possible release of self-lacing sneakers.
"Something big is coming soon. Can't say anything yet. No one should know too much about their own destiny. #BTTF," he Tweeted on Wednesday, quoting one of Brown's lines from the film series.
Marshall also Tweeted a link to a YouTube video showing rows of what appear to be Air Mag sneakers, saying: "Going to need a lot of hover boards," making reference to a flying skateboard that McFly obtains during his trip to the year 2015. On Thursday, he wrote: "POWERLACES? Not until 2015..."
The YouTube video was posted on Tuesday, September 6 on the account of user DocEmmettBrown88, which was also created that day. The clip's tagline reads: "If I didn't know any better, I'd say that looks like shelves and shelves of 2011 Nike MAG shoes." Check it out below and also check out a promotional video for the Nike Mag sneakers, the video interview EA Sports carried out with Tinker Hatfield in May.