Would you pay $4000 for a pair of sneakers? What if they glowed and came from the distant year 2015? …What if they could help rid the world of a dreaded disease? Michael J Fox is teaming up with Nike to produce the MAG, shoes inspired by the 1989 classic film Back to the Future 2. The Nike MAG is a (mostly) faithful copy of shoes Fox wore as Marty McFly when visiting the then far distant year of 2015 via a time traveling Delorean. (Look, kids, it was the 80s. Things like this made sense then). 1500 pairs of the Nike MAG are being auctioned on eBay now through September 18th, with benefits going towards research in Parkinson’s, a disease that Fox has been battling for two decades. Watch the fun commercial for the Nike MAG in the video below featuring Back to the Future 2 co-star Christopher Lloyd, followed by a heartfelt appeal for donations by Fox. With 600 shoes already sold at prices near $4k, the Nike MAG looks to raise about $6 million on its own. But wait, there’s more! Google’s Sergey Brin and his wife, Anne Wojcicki of genetic testing firm 23andMe, will match donations to the Michael J Fox Foundation up to $50 million! The future may not be what we imagined in 1989, but with your help it could get a whole lot better.
Firmly entrenched in the campy spirit of the Back to the Future series, the Nike MAG ad features the comedy of Christopher Lloyd, Saturday Night Live’s Bill Hader and Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder:
If you’re disappointed that the Nike MAG won’t have automated laces like the shoes seen in Back to the Future 2, try to remember that this is all for charity. Here’s Fox asking for your support, followed by a recent appearance with David Letterman where he discusses the project:
We all know that Back To the Future 2 got many things wrong about the year 2015 (and a few things right) but this really isn’t about futurism. The Nike MAG is a silly shoe for a great cause – one that is personal for many of those involved. Fox has Parkinson’s and Sergey Brin has a genetic predisposition towards the disease. Generally, however, this effort could effect millions. After all, Parkinson’s is the most prevalent neurodegenerative illness after Alzheimer’s. The Michael J Fox Foundation has done great work to fund research into causes and treatments. As we’ve discussed before, genetic testing service 23andMe has an ongoing crowd-sourced effort (partnered with the Fox Foundation) to find genetic markers linked to the condition. Results have been good so far. The Nike MAG is simply the latest way that Wojcicki, Brin, and Fox have found to battle a disease that hurts so many.
Maybe you can’t afford $4k for a pair of novelty sneakers. You could still join 23andMe’s efforts by getting yourself genetically tested and donating the results (starts around $100). Or you can go to the Michael J Fox Foundation and participate in the Brin-Wojcicki Challenge. Dollar for dollar matching means everything you donate gets doubled.
Recent advances in genetic therapies have shown promise in treating Parkinson’s. We can accomplish even more if we can learn more. Research is the key. Anything you can do will help.