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Innovation

2 High-tech innovations that will change the footwear industry

May 8, 2017 / World
2 High-tech innovations that will change the footwear industry
3D printing and Virtual reality are innovative technologies that companies are using to change the way consumers experience footwear
Intensive innovation has been changing the status-quo of many existing industries. The footwear industry is not an exception. From better and automated production processes to new product design techniques, footwear companies are more and more aware of the importance of implementing innovation across their business model. 

Recently there has been some buzz around two technological trends that promise to shake this industry: 3D printing and Virtual Reality.

3D printing
In Rio’s Olympic Games New Balance used this technology to create personalized shoe spikes, which allowed runners to increase performance.
3D printers are becoming more precise and efficient, especially regarding the costs of production. Recently, adidas announced the mass production of 3D-printed shoes, as the brand plans to manufacture 100 000 pairs under this process until 2018.
While 3D printers have still a long way to go when it comes to efficiency and costs, especially in mass production, there are already some benefits companies can gain from using them. For instance, allowing younger generations, who value individualization, to design and produce their own shoes.

Augmented and Virtual Reality
Using a VR helmet or augmented technology are great ways to involve consumers in different and immerse experiences. It can be used to promote brand events. For instance, Tommy Hilfiger used Samsung’s VR technology to connect consumers that were inside a store, to a brand event about one of their shows.
On the other hand, VR and AR can definitely boost footwear shopping experience for consumers, as they will see, try and feel products in a very fulfilling and immerse way. And brands won’t even have to increase the physical store size for this.

Although, we are still witnessing the early days of the practical use of these new technologies, one thing seems to be certain, they will impact the footwear industry. The extent of its impact is still to be determined.