With shoe sizes seemingly all over the place across various brands, as well as among different shoe types made by the same firm, buying footwear online can certainly be a frustrating experience.
Nike is hoping to change that — at least for its own footwear — with the launch of a new augmented reality feature for its smartphone app, Engadget reported on Thursday.
Called Nike Fit, the feature is powered by computer vision, scientific data, artificial intelligence, and recommendation algorithms. If it can perform its task as promised, you’ll end up with a perfect fit that your feet will thank you for.
Slated for a summer release, Nike Fit works by using your smartphone’s camera to make a detailed scan of your feet. The process takes less than a minute, and once it has all the data it needs, it’ll tell you the ideal shoe size for that particular pair of Nike shoes so that you can order them from its online store with greater confidence.
According to Engadget’s report, Nike Fit will measure your feet “virtually down to the millimeter size,” and will also tell you about any size difference between your two extremities, if one exists.
The sports apparel giant is apparently pretty convinced about the accuracy of the smarts that power Nike Fit, even to the extent that staff at its stores will ask to use the data if you turn up at one of its outlets to buy a pair of shoes.
“Fit is such a big friction point for our customers,” Michael Martin, Nike’s global head of digital products, told CNBC this week. “We reached a point of realizing this was not just the biggest problem, but biggest transformational opportunity that we have. No matter how good the shoe is, if the foot doesn’t fit well within the shoe, you’re not going to get peak performance from it.”
Besides offering its customers a snug fit, the new feature is also aimed at helping Nike to drive more sales via its own app, website, and stores rather than through wholesalers, and also has the potential to save it a lot in shipping costs as hopefully people will begin asking for one pair of shoes instead of multiple ones in different sizes when placing an order online.
You’ll be able to try out Nike Fit for yourself when it launches in the U.S. in July, and in Europe a month later.
This isn’t the first time Nike has experimented with augmented reality, though some of its efforts are, admittedly, a little more gimmicky than others.