Footwear Customization

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A Fit Metric for Footwear Customization
Ameersing Luximon , Ravindra S. Goonetilleke and Kwok-L Tsui 1 1 1 2

Department of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay School of Industrial and Systems Engineering Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia. 2

Abstract Due to rapid advancements in technology and the globalization of companies, customized products are becoming key to a company’s competitiveness, efficiency, profitability and market share. As a result, there is a trend toward extensive collection of individual customer data and the footwear industry is no exception. Even though the importance of footwear fit and comfort is well surveyed, the term, fit still remains somewhat subjective. A few studies have provided a methodology to quantify fit in 2-D. The 2-D fit metric has been worthwhile to show many footwear fitting problems. In this paper, the 2-D methodology has been extended to 3-D. First, the foot and the last outlines were aligned. Then, considering the heel height and toe-spring of the last, the height dimensions were included in the computation of the potential mismatch between foot and shoe. For ease of interpretation, the mismatch was color-coded. The proposed method enables footwear fit quantification so that fit-related comfort may be predicted. Furthermore, if a 3D foot scan is available, the proposed method will enable the manufacturer to choose the "best-fitting" last from a group of available lasts.

Keywords: Footwear, Fit, Comfort 1 INTRODUCTION and distribution [4]. Spencer [6] discusses the automation that is taking place in the footwear industry in order to produce high variety, low volume and low cost products. Mass customization can take place at different levels subject to the technological limitations and the product variations [4]. Thus, it is important to determine how much customization should be undertaken. For example, if the market place is very competitive, there may exist a greater need for a high level of customization [3]. Gilmore and Pine [7] have defined four different types of customization: adaptive, cosmetic, transparent, and collaborative. Adaptive and cosmetic approaches provide customization on top of standardized products, and there is no need to learn consumer’s specific needs, while transparent and collaborative approaches offer differentiated products and require knowledge of customer preferences [3]. Adaptive customization is a standardized product that the consumer adapts to fit his or her needs [7]. Adaptive customization is appropriate for sophisticated customers who can learn how to adapt the product to fit their needs, while it is not appropriate for customers who are likely to be confused or frustrated [3]. For example, the consumer can use different lacing methods or off the shelf insoles to change or adapt a shoe based on his/her own personal needs. Companies such as Nike (www.nike.com) allow customers to personalize the function of the model, Rival, so that it can alternate between a track shoe and a road shoe [8]. Thus, consumers can adapt "technology" to their own ways. Cosmetic customization also uses a standardized product and customizes the aesthetic aspects [7]. Customatix (www.customatix.com) and Nike, for example, let consumers design their shoes based on a different array of styles, materials and colors [8]. The consumers can even build-in their own personalized logo on the shoe.

Research indicates that customer focus can influence today’s business [1]. As a result, the business paradigm is moving from producer-centred productivity to consumer-centered customization [1]. Mass customization begins with understanding individual customer requirements and ends with the fulfilment process of satisfying the target customer with near mass production efficiency [2]. If product features can be broken down and offered to the consumer as choices, customizing the whole...
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