When Engadget took an exclusive look at the Puma Fi self-lacing shoes earlier this year, the company teased an upcoming beta program for those who want to try their luck. Well, the time has come. Between now and April 28th, you can apply for the Puma Fi beta testing program via the PUMATRAC app (available on iOS and Android) or Puma's online form. The catch is you need to be residing in one of the following 11 regions: US, UK, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Spain, India and Turkey.
Should you wish to proceed, you'll be asked for your shoe size (duh), smartphone model, active interests and general thoughts on the Fi's adaptive technology. The chosen ones will then receive the sneakers for providing constructive feedback, which will come in handy for Puma as it prepares for the Spring 2020 launch.
The $330 Puma Fi relies on a top-side motor to tighten its tough Dyneema strings, and you can fine-tune their tension by swiping on the module or the companion app (via Bluetooth). Its main competitor, the $350 Nike Adapt BB (which is already available), has its motor tucked inside the sole, and it comes with two physical buttons on the midsole as an alternative input method. While the Adapt BB automatically tightens as soon as you put it on, the Fi makes up with a much smaller wireless charger as well as Apple Watch connectivity.
No matter which camp you side with, one thing's for sure: the rise of self-lacing shoes will at least make life easier for people with disabilities, so the more the merrier.
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