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October 5, 2017

Adidas robots are making running shoes that fit with where you live

by John_A

Why it matters to you

If you’re a serious runner with a serious desire for the perfect shoe, this Adidas offering may be the perfect fit (though you’ll have to live in one of five cities).

The first major project undertaken by Adidas’s automated Speedfactory plant in Germany is underway, with the robot army pumping out the new AM4 shoe aimed at runners.

Adidas said the factory, located in Ansbach in the south of the country, will help the firm “to explore, test and co-create with consumers, as well as constantly invent and reinvent design, and define the future of how the brand creates.”

Speaking of co-creating with consumers, the robot-made AM4 will appear in several city-specific editions following interviews with local athletes about their running habits and styles, as well as the running conditions in the places where they live.

We’ve asked Adidas to offer up some details about the design of the AM4(LDN) shoe and how the consultations with London runners influenced its design, and will update when we hear back. For now, though, let’s assume the interviewees got around to mentioning the U.K.’s  rainy weather, which hopefully led to the inclusion of some waterproofing in the final design.

Adidas

Adidas said that as each shoe has been designed using feedback from athletes, “the AM4 project will be a constant beta mode, with insights taken from consumers following each product launch used to shape future designs.”

Yes, it may sound like a rather elaborate marketing ruse to some, but perhaps each city-specific pair really will suit the highly tuned feet of experienced runners who pound the streets of their particular city day in, day out. But if you do end up swearing by them, you may feel compelled to fork out for additional pairs should you ever jet off to any of the other cities where Adidas’s AM4 shoe will become available.

These include Paris, where the AM4PAR will be released later this month, followed in the coming months by launches in Los Angeles (AM4LA), New York (AM4NYC), Tokyo (AM4TKY), and Shanghai (AM4SHA). Pricing is yet to be announced.

Adidas’s 15,000-square-foot Speedfactory in Germany is now fully operational and the company has plans to pump out as many as 500,000 pairs of shoes a year.

A second facility — much larger at 74,000 square feet — will also open shortly in Atlanta. The production of AM4 footwear for all markets will be supported by both locations, but each facility’s main focus will be localized production, Adidas said, adding that with its cutting-edge manufacturing technologies, the U.S. factory will enable it “to create products in increasingly high volumes with advanced complexity in color, materials, and sizes.”




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