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Monday, September 12, 2005

Nike Free 5.0: Mass Customization

One of the promises of the future is the idea of mass customization; that is, the ability to purchase products made especially for oneself. Well folks, the future is now, courtesy of Nike.

I read back in the spring about the new Nike Free running shoes. The idea behind these new shoes is that they try to mimic the feel of running barefoot. My discovery coincided with my need for some new comfortable shoes. I was originally just looking for some sandals, but unfortunately my wifes hates the look of all sandals that are actually comfortable.

I'm one who likes to try things out before buying them whenever I can. So I went to the local Niketown to try out these new shoes. They actually had a grass-covered treadmill to try out the shoes on. After trying them out for a bit, I was blown away with how comfortable the shoes were and decided to get them. As I later discovered, the were fortunately out of the particular color that I wanted and the sales guy suggested I check out their website.

Was I in for a suprise! I noticed a link on for something called "ID" so I clicked it. Who knew that you could create your own custom shoes?!?!?!

On the right hand side, I was able to select various parts of the shoe and pick one of about twenty colors. You can decide colors for the swoop, the swoop border, the laces, the collar, etc. If I had wanted to, I could have even had my name stitched on it. (My wife put the kibosh on having "Dignan" stitched on the shoes)

I was also able to view the shoe from a number of different angles to see how they looked with the different colors. I spent hours trying different looks.

And here is what I ended up with.

As if having your own custom shoes isn't cool enough, these are easily the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. I was tempted to wear them to work this past week, but I don't think they would have gone well with my suit.

Welcome to the future.

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