The shoes were designed in consultation with Nike, and were originally intended to be worn by slamball players. However, this scene was considered too expensive and never filmed, so the shoes were instead made part of Marty McFly Jr.'s clothing.
Bob Gale explained in the Back to the Future Part II commentary that the special effects required to bring this futuristic technology to life were actually quite simple. The first shot was of Marty putting on the shoes and placing his feet on the ground. For the second shot, the prop shoes were bolted to a platform made of fake asphalt, with the laces running down through holes. On cue, a stagehand would pull the laces tight and a light would switch on, illuminating the Nike logo. Electronic sound effects were added later to complete the illusion.
In 2008, Nike released a limited run of 300 pairs of Hyperdunk McFly shoes that were inspired by the Nike MAG power-lacing shoes.
Between 2008 and 2013, Nike filed several patent applications for footwear with automatic lacing/fastening and lighting systems, suggesting that shoes similar to the Nike MAG could become a reality before 2015.
On September 9, 2011, Nike announced that they would be auctioning 1,500 limited edition pairs of 2011 Nike MAG replica shoes until September 18 as part of their Back 4 The Future campaign, with proceeds going to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. A further 10 pairs, packaged in deluxe presentation boxes, were sold exclusively by Nike at live auctions around the world. Described by Nike as being “precise replicas … down to the contours of the upper, the glowing LED panel and the electroluminescent NIKE in the strap,” they actually had two differences; additional foam support in the ankle and toe box for increased comfort, and the lack of a power-lacing system.
In September 2014, the HalloweenCostumes.com website unveiled their exclusive and officially-licensed replica of the same footwear, which they named Back to the Future 2 Light Up Shoes. In addition to lacking the power-lacing functionality, these less-precise replicas were also not Nike-branded, and therefore lacked the NIKE logo on the ankle strap, the famous swoosh on the sides, and the Nike MAG lettering on the heel.
On January 7, 2015, Nike designer Tinker Hatfield, who had worked on the design of both the original 1989 Nike MAG and the 2011 Nike MAG replica, stated that he hoped power-lacing shoes would be available before the end of the year. His statement was subsequently reported by many media outlets as being confirmation that Nike would release a power-lacing version of the Nike MAG in 2015.
Nike confirmed on October 21, 2015, that they had delivered the first pair of The 2015 Nike Mag shoes with functional power laces to Michael J. Fox. They revealed that a limited edition release of the 2015 version would be sold at auction, with proceeds once again going to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research but further details would not be made available until spring 2016.