The nagging frustrations of ill-fitting shoes could soon be a thing of the past thanks to technology developed by Swedish company Volumental.
New Balance has partnered with Volumental to install 3-D foot scanners in select stores worldwide that use foot measurements such as width, height and girth to determine a customer’s ideal shoe model and shoe size.
Although the technology behind Volumental’s scanners may be complex, the process is simple: Customers step into the 3-D foot scanner, which transfers information from their feet to a tablet within seconds. The data is then matched with the proper shoes and size for a perfect fit.
“Volumental’s product has created a completely new way of interacting with our customers. It brings New Balance’s unique fit story to life in a personal & relevant way for each of them. Customers love it and our staff love it,” said New Balance international retail director Jonathan Clark. “This solution is providing instant value on the shop floor and allows us to personalize service offerings. New Balance is taking the next step into digitizing retail and we see Volumental’s solution as a true game changer in achieving this.”
Volumental originated in Stockholm and is made up of a team of 20 researchers and experts, five of whom have Ph.D.s in computer vision and machine learning.
Looking toward the future, Volumental told Footwear News it’s “very interested” in using 3-D data to create custom shoes with methods such as 3-D-printing and knitting.
The 3-D foot scanning service, which is free to use, is now available at New Balance flagship stores in select U.S. cities including Boston, New York and San Fransisco.