Nike made a pretty cool announcement last week. An invitation only, limited time event to launch it’s Makers’ Experience where people can design a pair of shoes and have them made in less than an hour. The Nike Makers’ Experience lets you create Nike shoes with a custom look. And, you don’t have to wait for them as the entire process takes less than 90 minutes from start to finish. This is a lot faster than Nike’s Bespoke iD process that takes at least 6-8 weeks for delivery. You can customize most of the shoe, but the silhouette is one area where you’re locked in. The final shoe will be based on Nike’s Presto X, which was specifically designed for Nike Makers. You can, however, choose the regular version of the shoe or a slip-on.
How does this work exactly? Well, you have to go to their studio in New York City to get the process started. Which is actually fairly simple. Walk into the studio, and put on a pair of Presto’s that will act as a white canvas. Then you step into a booth that projects lights onto the upper and lets you see how your design will look in real time. Nike says that they worked on this technology with W+K Lodge which is a company that experiments with artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and more emerging mediums. If you check out W+K’s website, they state: “we use emerging technology to design experiences that people will care about”. And then show case some of their work, which is pretty neat (and funny).
Next, an associate will ask you what colour you want the shoe to be, or which pattern you prefer. All of that information is then transmitted to the light projector. In the future, the idea is to make that part of the experience automated with voice technology. Which means you won’t need a Nike associate to help you through the process. Mark Smith, VP of Innovation Special Projects at Nike says that the key is to make this process as simple and as fun as possible. Also, doesn’t that job sound amazing? VP of Innovation and Special Projects? Sign me up. Honestly, this whole idea sounds pretty amazing. Think about how unique your shoes will be. No more showing up to the party wearing the same shoes as someone else.
The downside is that right now only a few graphic packs and colours are available as options. But they are thinking that more can be offered. What’s extremely interesting about this whole thing is that they can make you a custom shoe in less than an hour. When I first heard this, I thought maybe they were 3D printing you a shoe. Which they’re not. I actually thought they were using existing shoes and then printing onto them. But apparently, they have actual humans (as opposed to robots) glueing and stitching the shoes together. And maybe that’s why they are only able to have one shoe design.
The goal is to bring these to Nike retail stores eventually. The cost is maybe a bit much also, as it adds about $20 for one of the NikeiD sneakers. So the assumption is that this would be of similar cost. But if you want a custom pair of shoes, then maybe you’ll want to shell out the cash. The other thing that I would be interested to see is whether or not you can bring your own art work or design to be put on the shoe? Instead of using the stock options from Nike. I could see this being enticing as a marketing tool, but maybe Nike isn’t there yet.