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Your smartphone is going to be your ultimate shoehorn

Just like 1-2-3: Stand, frame your feet with your smartphone camera, read the right shoe size for that specific Nike model. Image credit: Nike

Nike keeps innovating, in design, in the use of smart materials, is creating self-lacing technology, and now in using Augmented Reality to pinpoint the perfect size to fit your feet, based on the chosen model.

Is there a need for this innovation? Well, as it is pointed out in a recent article on Wired the concept of having a “size” for shoes only goes back to the XV century, before it was “one size fits all”. And it is even more recent that we can choose among a variety of sizes. Problem is, not all shoes arre alike, and they fit differently on the different shapes of foot. I guess it is a common experience trying out several shoes and discovering that the size fitting you change (slightly) depending on the show design (model).

According to Nike the difference can be in a range of up to 1.5. Rather that trying on different sizes, Nike researchers have decided to turn to Augmented Reality and image recognition. They developed an app, currently in a trial stage in three of their stores in the US and using the app you are suggested the best fit for that particular model.

After the trial period this functionality will be embedded in the Nike App on your smartphone so that you can do the measuring by yourself at home and be more confident that the pair of shoes you order on the web will be a perfect fit.

Who would have imagined, just 5 years ago, that a smartphone would make for a very nice shoehorn, albeit a virtual one? And that Augmented Reality would help you in choosing a shoe?

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the Industry Advisory Board within the Future Directions Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.

One comment

  1. Very interesting and useful technology! It would also be great to invest more in biodegradable materials, making the shoe soles thinner, etc.