Following a viral campaign that drove sneaker-heads, movie buffs and Back to the Future fans crazy this week, Nike has confirmed that it's all to do with the release of its latest shoe — the Air Mag — and a good great cause.
The limited-edition shoe is based on Marty McFly's self-tying, glowing Nike kicks in Back to the Future II, the release is a fundraiser for the foundation of the actor of who played McFly, Michael J. Fox.
The "McFly's Closet" video at top was born to go viral, posted by a YouTube user calling himself DocEmmettBrown88 and featuring McFly's sneakers.
Watch Nike's Air Mag spot below and read about the build-up, timed (cleverly) to the Fashion Week and Fashion's Night Out frenzy revving up into high gear today.
"Sneaker and movie fans have urged the company for years to create the shoe," AP reports. Now, Nike will auction the Air Mag on eBay and donate proceeds to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which is funding research into a cure for Parkinson's Disease.
According to the press release:
The NIKE MAG is no longer the "greatest shoe never made." The mythical shoe that originally captured the imagination of audiences in Back to the Future II is being released -- and they're here to help create a future without Parkinson's disease.
1500 pairs of the 2011 NIKE MAG will be auctioned on eBay with all net proceeds going directly to The Michael J. Fox Foundation. Each day for the duration of the ten-day auction, one hundred and fifty pairs of the 2011 NIKE MAG shoes will be made available via eBay's Fashion Vault.
The auction starts September 8, 8:30PM PST, and will end September 18. 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.
"This project is exciting to me," stated Fox, who appears on the David Letterman show tonight wearing the sneakers to promote the auction, "because it brings together three very passionate audiences; the Parkinson's community, the sneakerheads and Back to the Future fans."
With the show taping at 5pm Eastern the news got out, and The Late Show tweeted a photo of Fox holding the Air Mag:
According to Nicekicks.com, “the Air Mag is the first rechargeable footwear from Nike designed as an identical replica to the originals seen in Back to the Future II. Some of the constant elements include the upper contours, the glowing LED panel and the electroluminescent Nike logo in the strap. The Nike Air Mag actually illuminates with the pinch of the ‘ear” of the high top,’ glowing for five hours per charge.”
“We wanted to translate the excitement people have for the ‘greatest shoe never made’ and for the Back to the Future into positive action,” said Nike CEO Mark Parker. “But the long term objective is to raise awareness so the Foundation can achieve their goal of eradicating Parkinson’s disease.”
With a glimpse of the shoe already glowing on Nike's Facebook page (and two Twitter accounts now live: @NikeB4TF and @airmag) ahead of the auction going live, the movie's DeLorean arrived at Nike NYC's Soho store today (in a mysterious crate) for the brand's Fashion's Night Out event. Across the country in Los Angeles, according to solecollector.com, there was an invite-only event for a handful of reporters and bloggers (including Amy Jo Martin) hosted by Nike shoe designer Tinker Hatfield to explain the project and preview the shoe.
Before the big reveal, a special box was placed in each guest's hotel room which featured shades in the likeness of the ones famously worn by Doc Brown in the Back to the Future films. The frames read: "IT'S ABOUT TIME."
Before Nike confirmed the details of the project, the rumor mill already had it that "For ten days, 150 pairs of Air Mags will be auctioned off daily at nikemag.ebay.com. The auctions will begin tonight and end on September 18th. Additionally, the shoes are being auctioned off using eBay's Giving Works, an innovative philanthropic program that allows millions of people to connect and make donations to charitable organizations."
"The 2011 Nike Air Mag is said to be Nike's first rechargeable sneaker and is designed as an exact replica of the pair Marty wore in Back to the Future II. The shoes feature a bright LED panel and electroluminescent Nike branding. Slight changes, such as additional foam in the ankle and forefoot, have been put into place to improve comfort. One charge will keep the Air Mag lit for 5 hours."
Nike has already filed for a patent for a self-lacing shoe, and even though some fans may be disappointed that the Nike Mag kicks aren't self-tying — and that only 1,500 are being produced — it's for a great cause. Turns out "it's about time" after all.
Update: here's the trailer on eBay, which points to Back4theFuture.com for more details, and a video featuring Fox on the charitable collaboration: