Nike customizes shoes for ‘sneakerheads’ in under an hour
Sneaker customization is a growing trend, one that appeals both to the fashion sense and the collector-mindedness of those shoe fanatics sometimes known as “sneakerheads.” Now Nike is offering a limited number of enthusiasts the chance to try out a new, fast form of customization technology.
Nike’s limited-time, invite-only event, called the Makers’ Experience, is taking place in the Nike By You Studio in New York, according to Engadget. Visitors choose from four possible packs of graphics and a few different color schemes to customize the upper portion of the shoe. They can also input custom text. The design is then projected onto a blank pair of sneakers the customer is wearing to demonstrate how the design will look. Once the final design is chosen, it takes an hour or less to create the final product.
Nike intends to eventually bring this experience to its retail stores. Initially, only “Nike friends and family and select Nike+ members” were invited to participate, according to the Nike website.
Nike is not the only shoe brand piloting next-gen shoe design and manufacturing technology.
Adidas, for instance, after piloting its first automated Speedfactory in 2015 in Germany, began opening the automated production facilities throughout the U.S. Speedfactories, staffed mostly by robots, are capable of producing around 50,000 shoes per year, and are able to quickly shift gears to create shoes made out of custom materials and react to new design trends.
And Under Armour has been innovating in the area of design customization with its UA Icon platform. UA Icon allows site visitors to choose the style of different shoe parts, as well as upload custom images to be printed as a shoe’s graphic. The platform is a customer-facing adaptation of the one Under Armour has long used to let B2B customers, like colleges, design team uniforms.
Although the technology on demo at the Makers’ Experience event is currently limited to one style of shoe (the Presto X), additional features and customization options could make for a significant shift in shoe shopping if and when the tech hits stores.
- Nike made me a pair of custom sneakers in 46 minutes – Engadget
- New Live-Design Experience Promises Custom Shoes in Less Than 90 Minutes – Nike
- Will Adidas’s Speedfactory disrupt shoe production? – RetailWire
- Could ’embeddables’ in wearable tech give brands a clearer view of consumers? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Nike change customer expectations about the shoe shopping experience by introducing customization in its stores? How likely is in-store customization to become a common element in retailing? In what product categories will the tech be most applicable?