Nike thinks you’re probably wearing the wrong size shoe. Here’s what it’s doing to fix that

BEAVERTON, Ore. — Nike, the world’s biggest sneaker maker, wants to solve a problem it knows far too many people have: Which size shoes will fit?

Many shoppers have gone online and ordered multiple pairs of the same style shoe, in different sizes, planning to send back what doesn’t fit. The reasons are simple. Consumers often find they fit into different sizes — maybe a 7.5 women’s here, an 8.5 women’s there — depending on the brand and style. So, when it comes time to buy a new pair, there’s a lot of guessing going on.

It’s actually, very likely you don’t even know what your true shoe size is. Your feet could also be two entirely different sizes.

“Fit is such a big friction point for our customers,” said Michael Martin, Nike’s global head of digital products. “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.”

Now, Nike says it has a solution. The company will launch Nike Fit, a service being added in North America this July to its mobile app and in stores. Nike Fit will scan customers’ feet and determine the correct size. The service will roll out to Europe in August, moving to other international markets soon after.

Nike Fit is part of Nike’s bigger push to sell more products directly to consumers through its own shops, website and mobile app, relying less on wholesale partners than it has in the past. And so Nike is opening new stores, like its House of Innovation in New York and Nike Live in Los Angeles, designed specifically for those markets and selling items visitors can’t find anywhere else.

Nike said its direct sales in 2018 were up 12%, thanks to strong e-commerce growth and the opening of new stores. And it said direct-to-consumer revenue ended the year representing roughly 30% of total Nike brand sales, up from 28% in the prior year. With a market cap of roughly $130 billion, Nike has watched its shares climb nearly 22% over the past 12 months, outpacing the S&P 500 Retail ETF’s (XRT’s) decline of 1.5%.

Nike Fit will also help the retailer better manage inventory, cut down on returns and even entice shoppers to buy more shoes, early beta testing of the technology showed.

Down to the millimeter

At its core, Nike Fit will work when a customer opens the Nike app,selects a shoe to buy, and then instead of selecting a numerical size, the shopper will be presented with the option to scan his or her foot straight using a smartphone. A scan can take less than 15 seconds. And then Nike Fit will recommend a size for that particular shoe being considered. That information — such as the width of the shoppers’ foot, down to the millimeter — will be saved for later purchases, too, because the size may vary with the style. Nike’s Air Jordan shoe, for example, fits differently than other sneakers.

In stores, Nike will have a similar experience, but a sales associate will do the scanning.

Nike is launching Nike Fit in North America in July. Here's what the experience will look like in Nike's mobile app.

Source: Nike
Nike is launching Nike Fit in North America in July. Here’s what the experience will look like in Nike’s mobile app.

It’s staggering, data shows how many people are either squeezing into a shoe too small or have one falling off the foot.

At any given time, 3 in 5 people are wearing the wrong shoe size, based on industry research, Martin said. And the biggest reason for shoes being returned — whether they were purchased in store or online — is because of size, he said, adding that Nike receives more than 500,000 calls each year to its customer-service line related to sizing.

Return deliveries of all products will cost retailers $550 billion by 2020, according to estimates.

And, worse news for consumers, wearing the wrong size shoes can lead to injuries that can sideline them from playing a sport or from going to the gym. Foot injuries can also keep you from going to work. At least 60,000 foot injuries are responsible for keeping Americans out of the office each year, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Consumers more than ever want to have relationships with a brand. … Those [retailers] that are winning are serving personally.”-Heidi O’Neill, president of Nike Direct

In 2018, Nike spent an undisclosed amount to acquire Invertex, a computer-vision firm based in Israel to make Nike Fit possible. Years before this deal was finalized, Invertex had already begun working on a way to scan feet via a smartphone and make sizing recommendations, using machine learning.

Invertex CEO David Bleicher said many companies were approaching him and his colleagues by 2017 for their technology. But he said Invertex ultimately chose to work Nike, viewing the retailer as an “innovation powerhouse.” Bleicher now heads a digital studio for Nike in Tel Aviv, where he says Invertex is working to solve “many other challenges” in the industry. “The bigger vision is to [help Nike] create better shoes,” he said.

The rollout of Nike Fit isn’t the first time Nike has tried to tackle the sizing issue.

In 2000, the company launched its Air Presto shoe — designed by Tobie Hatfield, brother of well-known Nike shoe designer Tinker Hatfield — in sizes like “small,” “medium” and “large,” mimicking how T-shirts are sized, not using numbers. But it was more of a test to see how shoppers reacted to the stretchy material in the Presto shoes and the T-shirt sizing. And Nike eventually went back to numerical sizing for the Presto about three years ago.

Barleycorn and Brannock devices

But numerical sizing can still be imprecise — and is incredible outdated.

The shoe sizing system is archaic, dating to the 1330s. It’s somewhat of an urban legend that the reigning king of England in 1334 wanted a pair of shoes custom made for him. And when they didn’t fit, he grew angry and decided to make some standard system of measurement, because there was none. The legend goes he declared three barleycorns, or grains of barley, were equal to an inch. And so 21 barleycorns became equivalent to a size 7 shoe, for example.

Fast forward to 1925, and the Brannock Device was made. That was an attempt by Charles Brannock to perfect the barleycorn method, adding a width measurement. You know, that (horribly uncomfortable) silver, metal tray that you slide your foot into, moving around little bars, to find your shoe size? That same Brannock is still found in Macy’s shoe departments, Foot Lockersand DSWs across the country today.

“It was all well-intentioned, and it all had a good purpose,” said Bill Tippit, a senior engineering director at Nike, about the Brannock. “We still use it today, but it really is the thing that just destroyed fit.”

A shopper's foot is measured using a brannock device.

Source: Getty Images
A shopper’s foot is measured using a brannock device.

Then, there are a handful of up-start sneaker makers that have been looking for ways to solve this problem, too.

A Brooklyn-based company called Atoms, which sells its shoes to people only through invitations, has designed its sneakers in quarter sizes and will send customers three pairs at once. Then, a shopper can pick the two shoes that fit the left and right foot best, even if they’re different quarter sizes.

Outside of shoes, bra-maker ThirdLove has embraced the idea of creating the perfect fit for women. It has a “fit finder” tool on its website for shoppers to answer questions and then receive personalized bra recommendations.

“The brands gaining favor with consumers today are ones who know how to relate,” said Raj Nijjer, vice president of marketing at Yotpo. “They dialogue with customers, hear their pain points, and more often than not discover there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all. The brands that win are the ones that embrace their customers’ individuality and deliver products with the perfect fit.”

Shoring up the top spot

Beyond educating its customers on sizing, and hopefully helping more people avoid injuries from wearing the wrong size shoe, this technology could also be a financial boon for Nike, with its dominant position in the sneaker industry.

According to NPD Group sports analyst Matt Powell, Nike is the No. 1 footwear brand in the U.S. in terms of sales, representing roughly one-third of the market, ahead of Adidas, with 11% of the market, and Under Armour. It also remains really hot among teens with money to spend.

“Nike is not in any danger of giving up No. 1 by any means,” Powell said. “The consumer today is looking for unique products,” which Nike continues to churn out, he said.

However, Adidas, while it still holds a smaller share of the U.S. market, has been growing sales in the U.S. at a faster rate. In its latest reported quarter, Adidas said North America sales grew by more than 11%, compared with a 7% gain in Nike’s sales in the region. Adidas is also ramping up for a sneaker collaboration with Beyonce, which is expected to generate momentum in the U.S.

In 2018, 64% of Nike brand revenues came from footwear — shoe sales were $22.27 billion out of $34.49 billion in total sales. That doesn’t include sales from Converse, which operates as a separate business within Nike, and so Converse sneakers won’t be compatible with Nike Fit.

Shoe sales were up 6% last year, excluding currency changes, thanks to strength in running, Nike said. But that was less than the 8% growth in footwear revenues in 2017, as Nike didn’t sell as many Jordan shoes in 2018.

When testing Nike Fit in stealth in three markets — Seattle, Pasadena, California, and Dallas — Martin said the company noticed conversion rates increased for the people who used Nike Fit to find the right shoe size, meaning those people were more likely to leave the store with a bag in their hands. They were also more likely to come back later and buy another pair of shoes. Nike said returns were down at those stores. And associates spent less time running back and forth to the stock room to gather other sizes.

It can also help Nike stock the right inventory. Martin explained that Nike, like many shoe brands, typically ships shoes in bulk to different regions based on a standard “curve” that’s long predicted for the industry how many people typically wear each shoe size. But he said that curve is not as exact as it could be. And so it’s easy for companies to end up with too many size 10 sneakers in one market, when it’s really the 9 that more of those people need to be wearing, for example. Data gathered from Nike Fit should help the company make its own curve of sorts.

“We’ve never had any data coming back to understand just how accurate is that distribution,” Martin said.

Nike Fit is expected to help Nike grow its membership base, which amounts to more than 150 million people worldwide today. A Nike membership is free to sign up for and offers members early access to new products, a birthday reward, the ability to chat with athletes for tips on merchandise or training, and on-the-go workouts from Nike’s app. The company says it’s on track to increase its membership base to 300 million people, as those shoppers spend 40% more than guest customers, on average.

During its six-month trial run of Nike Fit in three stores, Nike said the service was the strongest lever to boost membership sign-ups that it has found.

Inside Nike's House of Innovation in New York, a concierge helps Nike Plus members find items for their taste and then tailors them to fit shoppers perfectly.

Source: Nike
Inside Nike’s House of Innovation in New York, a concierge helps Nike Plus members find items for their taste and then tailors them to fit shoppers perfectly.

“Consumers more than ever want to have relationships with a brand. They don’t look at their experience with brands as transactional,” said Heidi O’Neill, president of Nike Direct. “You see a more premium, more personal retail environment. Those [retailers] that are winning are serving personally.”

Nike Fit is just the latest step in bringing a bigger vision to reality, according to Martin. He sees a day where shoe sizes don’t exist. A customer goes to buy a pair of shoes, a box shows up with those shoes inside, and instead of a number on the outside it’s your name — “Sarah” or “Michael.”

But that will also require more of the industry to get on board with the idea that the Brannock Device is seriously outdated, and that consumers deserve better fit.

“We think this is a problem people have been trying to solve for a long time,” O’Neill said. “But we feel super confident in our solution. … We know we are going to have a new level of trust from consumers.”

[“source=cnbc”]

YouTuber’s DIY de-crease trick to make old shoes new goes viral – Watch

Things you require to get rid of creases on your shoes: something to stuff your shoes with such as old socks, newspaper or tissue paper, a small towel, an iron and some hot water.

YouTuber's DIY de-crease trick to make old shoes new goes viral - Watch

Many netizens tried the de-creasing trick and shared before and after images of their shoes.  |  Photo Credit: Twitter

Shoes look best when they are new. However, it breaks our heart when they wear out. A YouTuber’s do-it-yourself hack to remove the creases on your old shoes is now going viral.

The video is shared by Shantel Dé Bonsu and here are the things you require: something to stuff your shoes with such as old socks, newspaper or tissue paper, a small towel, an iron and some hot water.

You are now set to make your shoe crease-free again. All you have to do is just follow these simple four steps:

1. Stuff your shoes with old socks or newspaper or tissue paper to the point where you cannot see any more creases on your old pair of shoes. Once, you are done, press on the top of your shoes just to make sure that there’s no space inside.

2. Take a small towel and put it in hot water and then squeeze the water out to make the towel damp.

3. Place the towel on the top of the creases on your shoes.

4. Iron the towel. Make sure that you keep lifting the iron, else you’ll end up burning your shoes.

Keep in mind that the time to get rid of the crease depends on how bad it is. Watch the video here:

Many netizens tried the de-creasing trick and shared before and after images of their shoes

[“source=timesnownews”]

The Curious Case of Kanye West’s New Shoes

Today, Kanye West stepped out in Calabasas in typical Kanye fashion. He was fully decked out in Yeezy gear, including a prune-colored oversized T-shirt that was layered over a nubby long-sleeve shirt in faded indigo blue and trousers the shade of sun-bleached violets. The most eye-catching element of his outfit? A peculiar pair of ankle-hugging gray booties. With a paper-thin rubber sole that turned up towards the toe, the shoeswere unconventional to say the least. Were they scuba socks? Karate slip-ons? The details remain unclear. My colleague, Vogue Culture Writer Bridget Read, made the most astute observation: “They look like L.L. Bean insoles.”

Kanye West Wearing a Sock Shoe
PHOTO: X17, INC.

The rapper and fashion designer has a history of flaunting bizarre footwear. Last August at the wedding of his friend 2-Chainz in Miami, West styled his Louis Vuitton suit with a pair of too-small pool slides that appeared to be borrowed from his wife Kim. (He would later defend his choice in a now-deleted Tweet, arguing that the awkward sandal-to-foot ratio was a traditional Japanese style. It wasn’t.)

Kanye West Wearing a Sock Shoe
PHOTO: X17, INC.

Either way, West’s footwear isn’t totally out of the ordinary. Sock shoes have been around for quite some time—both Balenciaga and Vetements have released elevated versions of the style. It could be that the rapper is dipping his um, toeinto an entirely new Yeezy category.

[“source=vogue”]

Alien Stomper Reebok shoes look like Ripley’s vacation kicks

Image result for Alien Stomper Reebok shoes look like Ripley's vacation kicksThis year marks the 40th anniversary of Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley battling a xenomorph in the sci-fi classic Alien. Reebok, which designed the super-high tops she wore in the sequel, is once again stepping up to celebrate the franchise with a special-edition pair of Alien Stomper shoes.

They’ll be released Friday — April 26 aka Alien Day aka the annual event started by 20th Century Fox to celebrate all things Alien.

Reebok’s previous versions were inspired by Ripley’s iconic shoes for actress Sigourney Weaver in Aliens and by the yellow and black Power Loader that she used to fight another xenomorph. The 2019 edition of the shoes is meant to look like a prototype that came before the original pair.

The Alien Stomper 40th Anniversary OG mid-top shoes aren’t as dramatic as the super-high tops, but they’re more practical for everyday wear when you’re not fighting for your life on a spaceship. These are an updated version of mids Reebok released in 2015.

“When you buy it, it’s supposed to feel like you just happen to find this prototype of the shoe 40 years later that was on the ship, that’s why it’s aged and yellowed,” said Reebok footwear designer Chris Hill.

Hill combed through original and concept artwork to feed into the details on the kicks. There’s even an early take on the Weylan-Yutani (without the “d”) logo inside the ankle.

The new Alien Stompers come with a Stomping Guide that will hopefully help you survive your next space tug crew assignment.

[“source=cnet”]

Review: Ion Raid Amp II – Flat Pedal Shoes With Plenty of Grip

Ion Rascal II

Ion released the original Raid Amp flat pedal shoe a few seasons ago, and while they were light and comfortable, there was one problem – the soles just weren’t sticky enough. Time to go back to the drawing board. The latest version is called the Raid Amp II, and uses a new rubber compound and a softer midsole that’s designed to allow the shoes to really latch on to the pins of a flat pedal.

The shoes still have the same look and basic design elements of the original – the uppers are ventilated and designed to be quick drying, and the asymmetric cuff provides a little extra ankle protection. There’s also a molded rubber toecap to help prevent a rider’s toes from getting bruised and battered.

Ion Raid Amp II Details
• Pin Tonic sole design
• Molded rubber toe cap
• Elastic lace holder
• Asymmetric padded ankle cuff
• Weight: 470 grams (size 45, per shoe)
• Colors: black, grey, pink
• Sizes: 37-47
• $139.95 USD
• www.ion-products.com

The tongue isn’t gusseted, but there is an elastic strap sewn into the middle that helps keep the laces tucked out of the way. The Raid Amp II shoes are available in sizes 37-47, with three different color options: black, grey, or pink.

Ion Rascal II
Ion call their new sole design ‘Pin Tonic’.
Ion Rascal II
The asymmetric cuff and extra padding help dull the blow from crank and frame impacts.

Performance

Good news – the Raid Amp II shoes are actually grippy, and not in the usual “almost like a 5.10, but not quite” way. In fact, I’d put the stickiness level right on par with that of 5.10’s S1 rubber, the stuff that’s used on their Freerider Pro shoes. I’ve used the Raid Amp II’s on a very wide range of pedals – Shimano XT, Anvl Tilt, Kona Wah Wah, Burgtec Mk4 Composite, and found that there was plenty of traction in every instance. The shoes are stiff and supportive enough to wear on long rides without needing to worry about foot pain, but there’s still enough flex to make walking around off the bike feel very natural.

The shoes have a snug, foot-hugging fit, closer to what you’d expect from a pair of well-broken-in climbing shoes as opposed to a super-roomy skate shoe. That means these may not be the best option for riders with wide feet, but it does give them a very high degree of sensitivity, which makes it easy to tell exactly where your foot is on the pedal. How precise a shoe feels isn’t something that’s discussed very much, but it makes a difference when it comes to making those foot position micro-adjustments that flat pedal riding often requires.

The Raid Amp II’s aren’t going to keep your feet from getting soaked in a rainstorm, but they don’t turn into lead weights once they’re fully saturated either. The upper material doesn’t retain much water, and it didn’t take long to get them dry and ready for another dousing after wet rides. I haven’t tested them in any really scorching temperatures, but they do seem to breathe well, and the lack of any extra-thick padding in the uppers should help prevent any overheated feet once summer time arrives.

Ion Rascal II
Ion Rascal II
 The soles are going strong, but some of the stitching has started to come undone.

Durability

The soles of the shoes have held up very well over the last few months of use, without any unexpected wear or delamination, but I did run into some stitching related issues with the uppers. The stitching that holds one of the pull-straps on has begun to come apart, and while the last few stitches are holding strong, I’m not sure how long that will last. Some of the stitching just past where the front of the laces end has begun to give up as well, which is a little more worrying than losing the use of a pull-strap.

[“source=pinkbike”]

Masters 2019: The special edition shoes pros are wearing at Augusta National

olf shoe companies are getting into the Masters spirit by giving their players custom styles inspired by the tournament to wear at Augusta National. From Rory McIlroy to Mark Leishman, tour pros are showing some personality and Masters spirit on their feet. A few of the custom styles the tour pros are wearing are even available for purchase.

Brandt SnedekerG/Fore Gallivanter

G/Fore’s limited edition Gallivanter has all the technology benefits of the Gallivanter line—like the waterproof upper, the lightweight sole, and the cleat configuration. What makes the shoe limited edition is in the aesthetics. The pink and green colors make it a fit for the Masters, and spring in general.


Brooks KoepkaNike Tour Premiere

brooks shoes The Masters - Round One

Andrew Redington

Koepka isn’t the only Nike athlete wearing Masters-specific shoes. This version of the Tour Premiere features a light green snake skin pattern and the praying hands, a reference to Amen Corner, on the heel.


Marc LeishmanCallaway LaGrange

leishman_masters shoe_profile.jpg

This custom version of the LaGrange has the names of his children on it and a kangaroo for the Australian, as well as thematic coloring.


Rory McIlroyNike Air Zoom Victory Tour

rory's shoes The Masters - Round One

Mike Ehrmann

The snake pattern is the same as the Tour Premiere’s Koepka’s wearing. McIlroy helped in the designing of the original Air Zoom Victory Tour, which he’s been wearing different versions of since January.


Webb Simpson:FootJoy MyJoys

The beauty of MyJoys is that if you can’t find a color or style that you’re looking for, you have the option to just make them. Simpson’s version of the MyJoy features a new print that gives the shoe an old school vibe.


Austin Johnson, Dustin’s caddie: Adidas

The team at Adidas took inspiration from Georgia peaches for this limited-edition version of the Crossknit 3.0 — Georgia peach ice cream sandwiches to be specific. The sandwich itself can be found at concessions stands at the Masters. The insole features images of scoops of ice cream.


Bubba WatsonG/Fore Disruptor

gfore masters shoe.JPG

G/Fore collaborated with custom shoe company Nomad Customs to make these shoes for Watson to wear at the Masters. Each shoe is hand painted.

[“source=golfdigest”]