Nike has launched a new in-app scanning solution in the US, called Nike Fit, that provides customers with their recommended shoe size in each of the company's footwear products. The tool measures the full shape of both feet using a proprietary combination of computer vision, data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence and recommendation algorithms.
According to Nike, three out of every five people are likely wearing the wrong size shoe. That’s partly because the system the industry uses to determine shoe size is antiquated. It’s not just the equipment – essentially a foot ruler with a measurement scale based on a barley corn kernel – but the concept of sizing itself.
"Length and width don’t provide nearly enough data to get a shoe to fit comfortably. Sizing as we know it is a gross simplification of a complex problem," says the company.
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How to use Nike Fit
When a customer gets to the point in the Nike app when they need to input their shoe size, a new option asks whether they would like to try Nike Fit. Using a smartphone camera, Nike Fit can scan feet, collecting 13 data points to map foot morphology within a matter of seconds. Customers can store the scan of their unique feet dimensions in the NikePlus member profile and use it for future shopping online and in store.
Nike said customers might be recommended different sizes for different shoes, adding that there are often different sizing requirements depending on what the footwear will be used for.
The new tool has a ‘guest mode’ that allows for scanning other people’s feet in the event that a customer is buying a gift for friends or family.
Customers can also use the feature in a Nike retail store. This experience leverages a specially developed Nike Fit mat (rather than a wall) and allows store associates, or "athletes" as Nike calls them, to help recommend the best fit for any Nike shoe.
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Road to personalised product
"Nike Fit is a transformative solution and an industry first – using digital technology to solve for massive customer friction," says the company.
"In the short term, Nike Fit will improve the way Nike designs, manufactures and sells shoes – product better tailored to match consumer needs. A more accurate fit can contribute to everything from less shipping and fewer returns to better performance. The ultimate goal is to, eventually, totally personalise product. No number, no gender, just your name and a custom-made pair of shoes."