Nike Says It Just Solved Your Biggest Sneaker Buying Problem

Nike Says It Just Solved Your Biggest Sneaker Buying Problem
CREDIT: Shutterstock/David Tonelson

Nike may have identified and conquered one of its major objectives as it forges ahead with the goal of casting itself as a consumer-obsessed technology firm.

The company announced today the upcoming launch of Nike Fit, a new scanning technology designed to help customers find their precise fit in all of the brand’s many shoe offerings.

The tool, which scans users’ feet and then recommends the best size in a range of Nike footwear, will debut on the brand’s app — as an update — in July as well as in select stores in United States. Its European launch will follow later in the summer. (Users of the tool may be surprised to find that their best size in one Nike product is sometimes one or two sizes smaller or larger than their ideal size in another of the label’s products.)

Bothered by industry research indicating that more than 60% of people are in the wrong-sized shoes, Nike spent the past year developing the “solution.” Invertex Ltd., the 3-D scanning specialization firm Nike snapped up last year, was a key driver of the project.

“We hypothesized that some people are just accustomed to bad fit — they’re like ‘whatever, I still like the shoes,’” said Michael Martin, global head of digital products for Nike. “And for some brands that [kind of consumer reaction] might be okay — but that is unacceptable problem for Nike. So we’ve leapt forward to break through. We believe good fit is integral to good performance. If your shoes don’t fit well, they become a barrier to activity.”

Nike Fit — which was piloted in Dallas, Seattle and Los Angeles during the past year — can be used in two ways: consumers can employ their smart phone camera which will tap into the apps computer vision engineering to scan their feet. In stores, customers can stand on a “Nike Fit mat” while an in-store associate uses a similar application to scan their feet.

Martin said the brand believes this technology — which uses about 13 points of measurement — will help solve “the most fundamental consumer friction with the buying of footwear” and eventually aid the firm in developing its shoes in a highly-personalized way.

“One exciting end goal is the vision of being able to deliver a totally personalized product for customers that is their best fit: No number, no gender,” the company said. “Just their name and a custom-made pair of Nike shoes for them.”

Nike in 2017 unveiled its Consumer Direct Offense strategy, focused on better serving its customers personally and at scale. To fulfill the plan, the brand said it would accelerate innovation and product creation and move closer to consumers in key cities.