Laceless Performance Basketball Shoe
Thu, 21 Oct 2004
Adidas Introduces Revolutionary Laceless Performance Basketball Shoe, T-MAC 4
Adidas has introduced a revolutionary performance laceless basketball shoe, the T-MAC 4 with HUG Systems Technology. Tracy "T-MAC" McGrady, the NBA's leading scorer each of the last two seasons, showcased his latest signature shoe on a specially created basketball court at a launch in Shanghai last week.
The T-MAC 4 features a revolutionary closure system that locks the foot securely in place, providing superior comfort and fit. The process that has led to the HUG Systems Technology began in early 2001 in the offices and laboratories of the adidas Innovation Team (aIT). The idea came from the closure system on a ski boot. Martin Jones, member of aIT and along with the team, "creator" of the HUG Systems Technology, said, "Our first goal was to take a cable closure system from the ski boot industry and see if we could implement that into a performance court shoe. Firstly, we set about trying to find the best lines of tension to achieve optimum foothold and security in the product. We wanted to improve comfort and security by tying the athlete's foot more securely to the platform."
The HUG element fits over the top area of the foot. This is attached to the rear of the shoe by cables which put the element under tension, which is maintained by a closure device on the heel counter. The closure device, a slider/lever system is used to control the fit. Turning the adjustment wheel moves the slider up and down on the thread, giving the athlete the most precise fit possible.
After extensive testing to find the best cable and strap system and adding the precision lever for the perfect fit, adidas was ready to take the technology to McGrady. David Bond, Global Head of adidas Basketball, was at that meeting. He commented, "We went to T-MAC and told him that there was the possibility of doing a revolutionary laceless basketball shoe, and we showed him the prototype. He said if there was any way that we could fit that technology into a hot shoe for him, he wanted to be the first. And then we told him the name of the shoe, that it was called HUG. He got a big smile on his face, and said, 'Yeah, that works'."
With the technology proven and with the support and excitement of one of the world's greatest basketball players, the project was turned over to the design team. Kyle Pulli, Senior Designer for adidas Basketball footwear met with McGrady to get a better feel for his personality and style. Pulli stated, "I actually took a lot of inspiration from Tracy's car. That's how the whole proliferation of the back of the heel element came about, looking at the back end of his sports car and the carbon fiber element."
McGrady explained the benefits of wearing laceless basketball shoes, stating, "Kicks with laces always crease after a while and the fit changes throughout the game. So even if the fit is tight at the beginning, it changes by the end of the first quarter. The T-MAC 4 uses a lever at the back of the shoe to lock the foot into place. The fit never changes, so the shoe never creases and it stays comfortable throughout the game."