One of the most iconic movie advertisements in cinematic history was when Marty McFly slipped into the self-lacing Nike Air Mags in Back to the Future II. Back in 1989, when the blockbuster came out, it was just an interesting concept for what fashion could be like in the 2010’s. This prediction, whether intentionally thought of or just used as a gag, ended up being right. Today in the textiles industry a new wave of innovation has sprouted with the creation of Smart Fabrics.
Smart Fabrics are a type of fabric in garments that can detect stimuli and relay information back to the user. The Nike Air Mag’s self-lacing technology is the result of smart fabric at work, and you can even purchase the Air Mag themselves from select private sellers! The Air Mags, however, cost a whopping $15,000, but luckily most smart fabric products don’t have a hefty price tag. Earlier this year, Nike featured releases of smart fabric products; one being a track top that regulates the wearers body temperature and another being self-lacing basketball shoes for reasonable prices.
The benefits of smart fabrics are not limited to just sports, other smart fabric sectors include military, medical, and casual wear garments. Examples include disease detecting, acupuncture heat therapy, and environmental sensing garments. The market for smart textiles is small at the moment, but innovation in the industry is building up quickly, especially with retailers such as Nike and Adidas beginning to commercialize such products!