Shoe Fit Testing Technology

Time is money. This post includes examples of how footwear brands and retailers are using SmartLast to save time during their fit evaluations.

How Long Does it Take for a Human Tester to Give Shoe Fit Feedback?

Before we share the impressive speed that SmartLast collects fit data with, let’s review how long it takes for an experienced human fit tester to provide critical feedback on a shoe’s fit. In Heeluxe’s testing lab 100s of shoe testers provide fit, cushioning, and comfort feedback every year on 1000s of shoe styles. An average fit tester will put on the shoes (laced to their liking), perform the activity that the shoes are intended for (walking, climbing ladders, playing basketball, etc) for 1-10 minutes, then take 2-3 minutes to fill out our standard feedback form for each shoe. In our simplest studies, like casual slip-on walking shoes, an experienced tester can test 8 shoes in a half an hour. More complex activities, like soccer, a tester may only rate 4 shoes in one hour. Let’s assume for this post that a quickly moving fit tester can, on average, analyze 15 shoes an hour.

SmartLast Success Story #1: Fit Data for Website Descriptions

A European outdoor footwear brand recently collected shoe fit data with SmartLast so that they can provide their customers with fit descriptions on their ecommerce website. On their first day of testing, they collected 102 fit tests with SmartLast in just a few hours. They even had enough time left over to send us some pictures of their successful SmartLast day. If they were to do this with a human tester it would take 6.8 hours. In this situation, both methods could be completed in one work day, so it’s tough to see a clear advantage. Advantage: Both


SmartLast Success Story #2: EComm Warehouse

A United States based athletic shoe retailer needed fit data for every one of the 133 shoe styles they had in their warehouse. In this situation, two people were collecting the data: researcher 1 would find the shoe in the warehouse and unbox it, researcher 2 collected the SmartLast data, then researcher 1 repackaged and returned the shoe to its proper place in the warehouse. With this system, the shoe fit data on all 133 shoes was collected in under 3 hours with SmartLast. If a human tester gave fit feedback on 133 styles it would take at least 8 hours 50 minutes–it couldnt be done in one day and that’s not including finding shoes in the warehouse. Advantage: SmartLast. 


SmartLast Success Story #3: The Large Fashion Brand

A large fashion brand compared the fit of every one of their shoe styles across multiple production runs. The total number of shoes to test in order to get the answers they need: 492. A team of 2 people in their first days using SmartLast collected data on all 492 shoes in under 2 work days. For a human tester to test 492 shoes it will take over 3 work days without taking any breaks–and who knows what their feet would feel like after trying on almost 500 shoes! Advantage: SmartLast. 

Conclusion: Human Fit Tester vs SmartLast

These three examples show that shoe fit testing with SmartLast is faster than using human fit testers. Future posts will dive deeper into the other advantages to using SmartLast, like how it’s more consistent when giving fit feedback on different days. Let’s also point out that there is still value in having human fit testers provide feedback on things like how easy the shoe is to put on or if their heel slips out when they walk. The current best practice is to rely on SmartLast for your fit feedback, then allow your fit testers to focus on other areas of perception testing. This will save you time, improve the accuracy of your fit testing, and make your life a little easier.

Ready to set up a race between your fit tester and SmartLast? We’ll accept your challenge when you email us HERE.