Buying shoes online is a risky business, as it's hard to know if they'll fit once they arrive on your doorstep. Nike is attempting to address that issue, with its app-based and artificial intelligence-enabled Nike Fit system.

The footwear company already has an app that allows customers to browse and buy shoes via their smartphone. When it gets to the point where they're asked to select a size, however, users will soon be offered the option of using the Nike Fit feature.

If they choose to do so, they'll start by standing against a wall in their sock-clad feet. They will then point their phone's rear camera down at those feet, using an onscreen guide to make sure that the phone is being held horizontally level. The app will subsequently use the camera to visually identify and scan both feet, collecting 13 data points on each one within a matter of seconds.

That data will next be processed utilizing AI algorithms, determining which shoe size will best fit the user – that size may be different for different shoe models. The app will remember each user's foot-scan data, so they don't have to perform a new scan every time they're buying new shoes.

It is hoped that Nike Fit will ultimately not only ensure a good fit the first time around, but that it will also reduce the number of returns, and encourage consumers to buy more shoes from the company. An in-store version of the system is also being introduced, in which salespeople will scan customers' feet while they stand on a special grid-marked mat.

Source: Nike

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