Until recently, the shoe development process has remained largely unchanged. But with the rise of 3D foot scanning technology and access to global 3D data, a better, streamlined, scientific process has arrived, claims footwear and scanning technology company Aetrex. And it’s bound to change the future of footwear selling and footwear development forever.
To better understand how 3D foot data can enhance shoe development, let’s first look at why 3D data is so important and how it helps customers find the best fit. “Our feet are 3-dimensional and so are our shoes. So how can we possibly get the right fit, measuring in just one or two dimensions?” says Larry Schwartz, CEO, Aetrex, Inc. “Our Albert 3D foot scanners create a highly accurate, 3D reconstruction of your foot, from which we can measure any dimension. This data can be used to help customers find the right fitting footwear, and footwear developers can use the information to design better-fitting shoes.”
Most shoe stores today still measure feet with just one or two dimensions—length and width. This might have worked back when shoe purchases were made only in store and customers could try on as many pairs as needed to get the right fit. But now, with so many purchases being made online, it just doesn’t work. Today, footwear returns online are one of the highest categories at 30 to 40 percent.
With the help of in-store 3D foot scanners like Aetrex’s Albert 2 Pro and Albert 3D Fit, omnichannel retailers can capture complete 3D measurements of the customer’s foot—including girth, instep height, arch height and more—which are all vital to understanding feet and finding the best fit. “Once a consumer’s 3D foot scan is in the database, we can apply our online AI platform called FitGenius™ to instantly help the shopper find the best-fitting shoes, whether they are shopping in store or online,” says Kumar Rajan, SVP engineering, Aetrex, Inc.
Aetrex’s global 3D foot data can have an even bigger impact on fit by informing the shoe design process with objective, scientific data. The same highly accurate 3D foot data which is collected from their newest 3D foot scanners at retail from around the world can help footwear developers take the guesswork out of R&D. The company has developed a process to aggregate the anonymous 3D foot data and make it easily accessible to participating brands through a newly designed website.
“Our new Foot.com data portal was designed to help brands construct highly informed, anatomically correct shoe lasts for a better fit and enhanced performance,” says Schwartz. “It provides retail partners with a platform for viewing, reviewing and analyzing global foot data to help them develop better fitting footwear and lasts that ’truly fit’ their customers’ feet.”
Once on Foot.com, footwear developers can sort the complete 3D data by country, gender, region and more. Although Aetrex recently launched the website with 16 key measurements of the foot, the company’s Albert 3D foot scanners create a highly accurate, 3D reconstruction of the entire foot from which any dimension can be measured. Brands can then pull all the data they need to create their unique last design.
The Foot.com data portal is broken down into a few different tabs, including a summary page, a detailed measurements page showing a world map which customers can click on for specific country data, a 16 measurements tab with clickable definitions, a data export tab where footwear developers can export aggregated data, and an advanced data export tab where customers can download each measurement’s raw data anonymously. Footwear developers and early subscribers can enroll in Foot.com for $1,000 per month.
“Foot.com marks an exciting time in our industry. This will be the first time that footwear designers and product developers will have such accurate, detailed data at their fingertips,” said Gregory Starr, vice president of product development at Aetrex, Inc. “With Foot.com, shoe developers will be able to construct lasts for a variety of footwear designs that offer true biomechanical benefits.”
As Aetrex is a manufacturer as well, added Starr, the company can speak to the benefits from experience. “We’ve seen the benefits of using 3D data firsthand with the development of our own footwear collections, and we are excited to share this insight with the footwear industry.”
To learn more about Aetrex, click here.