I don’t shop online for shoes because, getting shoes online is like life and life, according to Forrest Gump‘s mum, “is like a box of chocolate, you never know what you are going to get.” I prefer hitting up brick and mortar stores to get my feet measured. Even then, Nike thinks that in-store foot ruler is not enough to determine the right fit for an individual. Nike has taken a simple process, dissected it and written a rocket science text book about it.
Nike said sizing as we know it, “is a gross simplification of a complex problem.” To which, the sports equipment maker has a solution and it is called Nike Fit. Nike Fit is best described as a “proprietary combination of computer vision, data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence and recommendation algorithms.” In short, it is a modern smartphone magic because, a smartphone is all you need to determine the exact size for your feet so that you won’t be one of the 60 percent of people who are walking around in the wrong size shoe.
The app leverages on the smartphone’s camera to scan your feet. The scanning collects 13 data points mapping your foot morphology for both feet “within a matter of seconds.” The information can then be stored in your NikePlus member profile and pull up the next time you do your online shopping and in-store. That’s provided you are shopping with Nike, of course.
Remember how Nike said a foot measure is outdated? Well, they do mean it because, Nike Fit can replace traditional foot measure in Nike retail stores too. However, instead of backing yourself up against a wall to scan your feet, you will stand on a specially developed Nike Fit mat to do the scanning. Anyways, once you have your feet data, the next time you are shopping for a pair of Nike shoes will be a breeze. Here’s how it will play out:
“…if you have used Nike Fit to scan your feet and you go to purchase a Nike Cortez on the Nike app, you won’t see a run of sizes anymore. Instead, you’ll just see your size for that particular shoe. Then, if you go to buy a Nike Air Zoom Pegasus you might see another size. That’s because different shoes are made with different performance intent – a running shoe works best for the athlete when a little more snug while a sportswear shoe is designed to have more room for everyday wear.”
So, it is not as simple as taking pictures of your lovely feet. Nike Fit actually scan them, determine the so-called data points unique to your feet, and use them to find the perfect fit.
We have no doubt that Nike Fit will benefit consumers. However, it is also a Nike “ploy” to sell more shoes both online and offline, and on the grand scheme of things, the data gathered from as many people who uses the app will let Nike into the size and shape trend which would later enable Nike to design better footwear. Plus, it may result in fewer returns too. Nike Fit was announced last week without information on when it will be released.
Images: Nike Inc.