Nike’s new Nike Fit app is looking to use technology to help consumers buy shoes that are the correct size as their internal research shows that 60% of shoe buyers are often wearing the wrong sized shoe.
PHOTO CREDIT: NIKE
Technological innovations have aided professional sports performance in myriad ways, but one area that is, perhaps, less publicized is technology’s impact on the sports equipment used in competition by everyday athletes. These innovations, which have helped players stay on the field or court and increase their efficiency in performance, are often solving relatively simple problems that have long remained unaddressed.
One of the issues which affect everyday athletes, as opposed to professional athletes, is as simple as wearing the wrong sized shoe, especially when those are purchased online, though also in stores. According to Nike’s own research, 60% of people, at any given time, are wearing the wrong shoe size. In North America alone, more than half a million people complain about purchasing the wrong shoe size every year. With purchasing migrating to online retailers, were just trying on the shoe is impossible before buying, these numbers are likely to increase unless solutions are identified to address this problem.
For this reason, Nike is rolling out its own proprietary technology called Nike Fit, a new scanning solution that uses a combination of computer vision, data science, machine learning and AI to measure the full shape of each of the consumer’s feet and then assist them in understanding which Nike shoe styles ideally fit their feet. By precisely measuring a consumer’s feet, Nike’s goal is to assist them in finding shoes that fit them perfectly, since ill-fitting shoes are uncomfortable and can negatively impact athletic performance. Nike believes their app will help revamp an industry that still measures shoe size in antiquated ways and utilize new technology that can allow customers to buy shoes centered around an ideal fit and not just a reading from the naked human eye.
The process works by using one’s smartphone camera. The Nike Fit app scans and collects 13 data points that can identify the morphology of both feet in just a few seconds. After developing a highly accurate computer scan of foot dimensions, the data is stored in the consumer’s NikePlus member profile. This data can then be easily accessed when shopping for shoes online or in any Nike store. If shopping for a family member or a friend, a customer enters into guest mode on the app to access the scanning system. Nike believes this feature will be particularly helpful for parents who might need to figure out cleat or basketball shoe sizes for their children.
Once Nike obtains the foot scan, using the app, it can make recommendations amongst their offerings about which shoes might best fit that customer’s unique foot scan data. It remains to be seen how and whether mainstream consumers will use this sort of technology, but the initial rollout is the first step to perhaps providing athletes of all ages with ideal fitting shoes which should decrease soreness and injury risk resulting from wearing ill-fitting athletic footwear. The Nike Fit app is free and available to download on both and available to download on both iOS and Android devices and can be used for online purchases and for browsing in-store.