The question answered here is whether or not you can patent an idea? Remember you can get a patent for the “thing” you make not the idea. “Thoughts become things…choose the good ones!”
“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.” George Bernard Shaw
In order for an idea to become a patented invention, the inventor must be able to teach someone of ordinary skill in the art how to make and use the invention. So when the movie came out in 1985 the sneakers were just an idea even though they made them look real in movie. So they could not file for the patent at that time.
Simply said “the idea itself isn’t patentable.” If you can’t describe how to make and use it to somebody who is skilled in the art you can’t get the patent. Ideas are not patentable things are.
So when an inventor says can I patent my idea, I think to myself “I wonder if there actually is something that is patentable or is it in the idea stage?”
If an inventor has an end result of what they want to accomplish, I ask the question “What structure does the invention have that allows it to get the functional result?”
An inventor has to describe how to construct the invention in the patent specification.
The bottom line is the inventor must know how to describe how to make the product. Which doesn’t mean that you actually need a prototype, but you can describe how to make and use it with words and figures.