Back to the Future, the first in a trilogy of films, was a box office success. In 1989, Nike Inc. designer Tinker Hatfield was asked to create a shoe for the second installment of the series, which was partly set in the then-futuristic year of 2015. The shoe had features such as light-up panels and self-fastening laces.
Over 15 years later, an online petition that asked for the return of the shoes caught the attention of Tinker Hatfield. With the help of footwear innovator Tiffany Beers, they began to build the Nike MAG from scratch. They worked on the shoes for approximately six years and had to restart about three times. After thousands of hours of work, the shoes were a perfect replica of the 1989 Nike MAG worn by Marty McFly. The shoes feature an electroluminescent out-sole, space age materials, and a rechargeable internal battery good for 3,000 hours. They are the first rechargeable pair of footwear by Nike. Power laces, a prominent feature of the shoe in the film, are not present. Nike has gone on record saying Mag is not meant for heavy activity and should not be worn for recreational purposes.
A limited quantity of 1,500 pairs were auctioned on eBay on September 8, 2011 and proceeds are currently being dedicated to the The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's disease research. Online sales of the shoe ranged between US$2,300 and US$9,959. 10 additional pairs, packaged in deluxe presentation boxes, were sold exclusively by Nike at live auctions around the world, for a total of 1,510 pairs.
A total of US$4.7 million was raised from the online auctions. Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, and his wife Anne Wojcicki agreed to match all donations of the Michael J. Fox Foundation, up to US$50 million through the end of 2011. This brought the total proceeds from the online auctions up to US$9.4 million.
A new version featuring self-lacing ability is being developed, and Nike are optimistic about its chances of appearing in 2015.
- Kile III, George (2011-09-08). "Nike Mag officially unveiled". Nice Kicks.
- "The Nike MAG". NIKE, INC. Retrieved October 14, 2011.
- Skidmore, Sarah (September 8, 2011). "'Back To The Future' Shoes To Be Released By Nike". Huff Post Los Angeles (TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.). Retrieved October 14, 2011.
- "'Back to the Future' Nike MAG to hit EBay, fight Parkinson's disease [Video]". Los Angeles Times. September 8, 2011.