The Achilles Heel of Buying Shoes and How We’re Solving It

Have you ever tried on shoes in a store only to find nothing fits? Buying online increases your options, but can you really shop with confidence without ever actually trying them on?  For many, the answer is no.

Now imagine choosing from all the styles and prices available worldwide with the confidence that you’ll get a shoe that fits. Life changing, isn’t it? But the fact is we still fit shoes like we always have: by trial and error.

So why is fitting shoes so hard?

We’ve Been Going About ‘Size’ All Wrong

Generally we talk about our feet being a ‘size 7’ or a ‘size 10’.  But what does the size actually mean?

This is generally referring to your foot length as measured by a Brannock device. Similarly the size of a shoe is one number assigned to describe its length.

By now you've probably already realized the problem yourself.

A shoe is a three-dimensional object.  The foot-shaped thing on the end of your leg is also a three-dimensional object.  For a good fit, your 3D foot needs to fit comfortably inside the 3D shoe.  

Simple, right?

While the foot might be about the same length as the shoe, there are lots of other ways that the foot might not fit, for example being too wide or too narrow.

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Feet come in different sizes and different shapes.  One number is not adequate to describe your foot.

So you know your shoe size, but what about your foot shape?

How Many Sizes (Shapes) Are There?

If you were asked your body size, what would you say?  You can quote your height, but what about your waist, your chest, your neck? Those are all important specifications that make up your ‘size’.  

Body size is in fact multi-dimensional. Similarly, so is your foot size.

Shoe makers have developed measurements that are helpful for sizing feet, but they still only describe some aspects of the three-dimensional shape of the foot.

Here we come to the heart of the problem: multiple measurements, or dimensions, are needed to describe a foot, but nobody has known what those are – until now.

Shoe Size Redefined With FTSY

Current sizing methods lack the depth to understand all aspects that play into a great fitting pair of shoes. FTSY (‘footsy’) utilizes data science to solve the issue of fit by using state of the art machine learning and 3D modelling techniques.

But what does that all mean and how?

Our collection of shape indicators is the key to the shoe fitting puzzle.  Each indicator describes the shape of that particular part of the foot, and when seen collectively, they accurately define both foot size and shape.

The conversation then gets switched from, ‘What’s your size?’ to the more definitive ‘What’s your shape?’.

FTSY shape component that measures foot width.

FTSY shape component that measures foot width.

FTSY shape component that measures arch height.

FTSY shape component that measures arch height.

FTSY shape component that measures toe box shape.

FTSY shape component that measures toe box shape.

The Future of Shopping

The future of retail is personalized products and experiences. For footwear, that future starts with a shopping platform that understands shape, not just size.

AI, and specifically retail tech, is more than just helping people find the best fit.  It’s about making individuals, that is real people, feel validated and confident when making purchases.

With this shape-based approach we are excited to be working with footwear brands redefining the customer experience, enabling personalized shopping and growing accessibility to custom options.  Our mission is to help shoppers get matched to the right products and feel great - if the shoe fits, wear it!