Red Wing Shoes finds new use for AI-based personalization

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Red Wing Shoes is ensuring the right fit for customers in its stores.

A global safety footwear brand is taking in-store customization to a new level, with help from artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

Red Wing Shoe Company has launched an AI-driven “ultimate fit experience” for customers across all of its 500-plus retail stores. In the new store-only experience, a Red Wing associate will help customers build a customized fit system (workboot, insole and sock), starting with a personal assessment of their work environment conditions and safety requirements.

This assessment is combined with new AI-based foot scanning solution from Volumental. Customers first step onto a 3D scanner that assesses 16-ft. measurements in less than five seconds. They then walk across a pressure plate for a dynamic foot scan, which provides a visualization of their gait and pressure points.

This customized technology creates a digital 3D model of the customer's feet, which is used to recommend their ideal work boot size and any additional foot support, with personalized accuracy. And in a partnership between Red Wing stores and Superfeet custom insoles, the retailer will also offer insole recommendations and the ability to purchase custom 3D printed footbeds that are designed and printed for their unique foot shape and movement patterns, then mailed directly to the customer.

These custom footbeds are designed to help reduce fatigue on feet due to a combination of custom arch support, flex zones and flex lines, designed to enhance natural motion and help feet move more efficiently. So far, Red Wing says customer feedback about the new fitting experience has been positive.

The company will also combine data collected from the personal assessment and foot scan with retail purchase data and custom, AI-driven technology to provide tailored recommendations across its footwear assortment. A customer’s personal profile, including work requirements and fit history, will be accessible across Red Wing's store ecosystem.

Red Wing is enhancing the fit and customization of its footwear products following an initiative to enhance its fulfillment of them. To centralize order fulfillment and support omnichannel shopping, Red Wing previously implemented the Tecsys order management platform.

Leveraging the Tecsys solution, Red Wing is orchestrating incoming orders from front-end systems and connect brick-and-mortar and digital channels. The company seeks to develop an omnichannel commerce strategy to ensure positive customer experiences, however and wherever customers shop.

The Tecsys platform also connects fulfillment siloes, enabling retailers to pick, pack and ship orders through data-driven algorithms, factoring in fulfillment flexibility, inventory availability, intelligent order orchestration and routing, and cost to fulfill. As Red Wing continues to calibrate its operations for post-pandemic commerce, the Tecsys platform will provide the flexibility to adapt to dramatic shifts in buying patterns and fulfillment expectations.

"We saw an opportunity to advance the Ultimate Fit Experience to provide an even more personalized fit for our customers," said Mike VanGoethem, VP and chief services officer, Red Wing Shoe Company. "Our previous experience focused on standard 2D measurement and foot pressure points, and now we are enhancing that, adding in gait assessment and whole foot volume 3D measurement. We're excited to merge the art of our purpose-built shoes, with the science of this new dynamic, tech-driven approach to ensure the best fit for worker comfort and safety."

Minnesota-based Red Wing Shoe Company distributes products across multiple brands to more than 110 countries, via more than 525 Red Wing retail stores, as well as multiple third-party retail partners and owned e-commerce platforms.