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Stepping into the future: 3D technology in shoe retail

As the retail industry is ever evolving, brands have to keep themselves updated and upgraded to stay ahead and for this they should always be ready to leverage the latest technology. Now, if I specifically talk about the shoe industry, this sector is undergoing a technologically beautiful transformation and all the thanks goes to 3D technology.

3D not only revolutionizes the customer experience from shopping to fitting and then customization but it’s also enhancing the way shoes are designed and manufactured.

Let us explore in depth how 3D is reshaping the shoe retail industry from shoe designing to manufacturing to enhancing the customer experience.

Enhancing the Customer Experience

Let us look at how 3D technology - 3D viewers, 3D configurators, and Virtual try-ons is changing the way shoe brands sell their products and beautifully enhancing the customer experience.

Visualisation: With the 3D models, customers can now interact with your products in a more immersive way wherein, they can rotate the shoe, zoom in to see more intricate details i.e. the textures and stitches and can view the shoe from different angles which was not possible with the traditional product photography.

With this level of interactivity with the product, customers can make more informed decisions and also reduce the return rate due to mismatched expectations.

Personalisation: With 3D Configurators, shoe brands can offer more personalised shopping experiences. Customers can design their own shoes by choosing the colours, materials etc to suit their preferences. This level of interactivity not only fosters a sense of ownership and personalisation but this will also allow their customers to visualise exactly how their customised shoe will look before making a purchase.

3D Product configurators thus, empowers customers with deep engagement with the product and the brand, which increases customer satisfaction and thus, ultimately drives sales.

Virtual Try-On: One of the biggest challenges that Online shoe brands are facing is that their shoppers are not being able to try on the shoes before making a purchase. This makes the shopper uncertain about whether the shoe will fit comfortably or not. The solution to this problem is Virtual Try-On. Virtual Try-On technology allows customers to see how the shoe will look on their feet before they make a purchase.

The Evolution of Shoe Design and Manufacturing

In the traditional approach, designing and manufacturing a shoe have been a laborious process which requires multiple iterations and skilled artisans to make a perfect design. Thankfully, now with 3D, this process has been streamlined more efficiently.

3D Scanning: Footwear fit is one of the most important decisive factors for a customer before purchasing a shoe. Here also 3D is playing a major role. By creating detailed 3d models of feet, manufacturers can design shoes that fit more precisely. This technique is reducing the number of returns due to poor fit and also enhancing the comfort of the shoe.

3D Printing: 3D Printing has been identified as a key technology that is playing a significant role in the shoe manufacturing process. It allows for rapid prototyping and thus enables designers to iterate quickly. With this they bring new designs to market faster. With 3D Printing, consumers can also create or configure shoes that are perfectly tailored to their individual preferences.

Customization or Configuration: A 3D shoe configurator is revolutionizing the way shoes are designed, manufactured and purchased. With this technology, customers can have shoes tailored as per their specific preferences from colour and material to the exact shape needed for their feet. Most of the famous brands like Adidas, New Balance, Nike etc are already leveraging this technology and many startups are also implementing 3D Configurators for their customers.

Sustainability and Efficiency

The shoe industry has long faced criticism for its environmental impact, from the use of non-renewable resources to the significant waste generated during production. 3D technology is helping to address these issues in several ways:

Reducing waste: Earlier shoe manufacturing often involved cutting materials to shape that results in significant waste. Nowadays, 3D printing has been adopted by many manufacturers who use only the material necessary to create the shoe. Thus, it drastically reduces waste.

Sustainable Materials: Advances in 3D printing have led to the development of new, sustainable materials. For example, some companies are experimenting with biodegradable materials that can be used in 3D printers, reducing the environmental footprint of shoe production.

Production On-Demand: 3D printing enables on-demand production, meaning shoes can be made to order rather than in bulk. This reduces over production and the associated waste, and also means that brands can respond more quickly to changes in consumer demand.


To conclude, investing in 3D technology helps in enhancing the online shopping experience, increasing conversions, reducing return rates and driving more sales, is a proven fact! Therefore, by investing in 3D models of your SKU’s, brands can differentiate themselves in a crowded market.

At Shinobu 3D, we will be there with you at each step of your 3D metamorphism.

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