Technology comes first – that’s the maxim held by Aetrex, a global leading foot scanning technology company that also specializes in women’s comfort footwear and a variety of orthotics for men and women. With a mission to keep people healthy and comfortable on their feet, the company believes building optimal footwear all starts with a comprehensive foot scan.
Aetrex began developing foot scanning technology solutions – that determine one’s unique foot measurements and pressure data – well before they started designing footwear for the general public. In fact, for the past 20 years, Aetrex has placed more than 10,000 foot scanners in over 50 countries, and these devices have done over 40-million foot scans to date, currently averaging more than 2.5 million scans per year.
“With all of this global foot data, it should be no surprise that we really know feet,” says Larry Schwartz, Chief Executive Officer at Aetrex. “The scientific data we collect from our foot scans informs everything we do and how we do it. We believe this is our secret sauce for developing really great shoes and orthotics.”
Technology First Model
Aetrex’s technology-first philosophy keeps the team on their feet, so to speak. Their technology group, including AI and Computer Vision Engineers, work to not only advance the existing hardware and software, they also help lead the data collection and analysis process to glean insights for the company’s footwear and orthotic product lines. In fact, Aetrex operates the largest foot scanning technology team in the industry, and they are the only company in the world where AI and Computer Vision Engineers are involved in the footwear development process.
“To get the best results for fit, comfort and health, it is important to scientifically understand feet,” says Kumar Rajan, Senior Vice President of Software Development at Aetrex. “And, our Albert foot scanning technologies are the backbone for our business, establishing the ability for us to develop superior products that really stand out among our peers.”
Aetrex’s newest foot scanning models include the Albert 2 Pro and the Albert 3DFit. These scanners accurately capture 3D foot measurements, including your length, width, girth, instep height and arch height. The Albert 2 Pro also gathers unique pressure data underfoot, which informs where you’d be prone to discomfort or pain. Aetrex uses this collective data to develop footwear – and that’s why their products boast a superior feel, fit and performance for discriminating shoppers.
The Science Behind Footwear Design
The data collected from millions of Aetrex Technology foot scans takes the guesswork out of shoemaking by enabling the development of anatomically correct, highly informed lasts. “We’re able to create shoes that fit better because it’s all tied to scientific data. For example, we don’t have to guess the average girth for a particular foot length, we already know,” says Amy Egelja, VP of Footwear Design. “Our scans also tell us where your pressure points are located when you walk or run. So, our footbeds and removable insoles are designed specifically to offload impact at these areas of high pressure.”
And every shoe in the Aetrex collection features their Signature Arch Support, strategically placed based on foot scan data and designed to help create proper alignment throughout the gait cycle. This helps reduce pronation, which helps prevent injuries and promotes proper foot health.
Data Driven Orthotics
“One of the many things we’ve learned from our foot scanning data is that different foot types have very different needs” says Evan Schwartz, President at Aetrex. “People with flat feet tend to overpronate. So, we offer orthotics with medial posts to help reduce pronation. And, people with high arches usually have more rigid feet and put too much pressure on the ball of their foot. Therefore, we also offer orthotics with metatarsal pads to help unload this pressure.” Because Aetrex Orthotics come in a variety of styles for different shoe types, retailers can easily customize shoes from their inventory to meet a customer’s particular needs.
How Other Brands & Retailers Can Benefit
Of course, Aetrex isn’t doing this just for their own shoes. Retailers can benefit from Aetrex’s technology-driven model when they get involved in foot scanning. One of Aetrex’s goals is to help the whole industry create better footwear. Larry Schwartz says, “Our footwear customers are very loyal and come back to us because our process works. We are proud to offer this technology and insight to all footwear companies that want to make better shoes.”
And the benefits go beyond product development. Having an Aetrex scanner in store helps retailers provide an engaging and educational experience for shoppers, giving them a reason to shop in store and not just online. The scanners help collect complete data about a customer’s feet, creating opportunities for retailers to optimize their business. For example, retailers can easily collect email addresses in an organic way when capturing a foot scan. These email addresses along with the scan data can then be used to create customized digital marketing messages to target customers based on their individual foot characteristics.
Lastly, the systems are designed to enhance the omnichannel retail world we live in today. The data collected from an in-store foot scan is also used when the consumer shops on the retailer’s website to find the best fitting shoes for their feet. Finding the right fit on the first try, whether shopping in store or online, significantly reduces returns and increases customer loyalty.
The Future of Fit and Design
Technology companies continue to enhance all of our lives in so many different ways. “At Aetrex, we’re proud to be paving the way for technology integrations and innovations in footwear,” says Larry Schwartz. As Aetrex continues to evolve and innovate, they are excited to continue to promote foot heath and help people stay comfortable on their feet throughout the world.