"With Speedfactory, we don't just have a product, we have an enabler for never-ending creativity and ultimate tailoring. Through the Speedfactory approach and the brand obsession with an athlete's game, every adidas consumer will be able to co-create unique and personal products where they want, when they want and how they want."
Gerd Manz, head of Technology Innovation.

The AM4 is the first physical representation of that approach and a taste of what to expect in future athletic shoes from its manufacture.

To better serve their customers, Adidas' designers traveled to various cities, Paris, Los Angeles, Shanghai, and Tokyo, to hear directly from the runners themselves. They learned about their routines, hooked the runners up to sensors, analyzed their gaits with motion capture, and discussed how to translate their needs into a shoe.
They discovered that runners in New York need shoes with more cushioning in their middle or forefoot where they tend to hit in their stride. Runners in London needed shoes that were reflective, easily visible, and not all white.
Why we think it's interesting?

Thanks to years of work digitizing its supply chain and rethinking the way it makes footwear, Adidas says it can now create small runs of unique shoes tailored to the needs of individuals. Ultimately, this aims to upend the economics that have defined the sneaker industry for decades. The new shoes are just a first step in a much bigger race.

How it works?

To run trials on products before it has a physical sample, Adidas uses ARAMIS, the same 3D motion-capture and analysis technology that allows NASA to calculate stress on the hulls of its space shuttles, and that Boeing uses to measure surface strain (pdf) on its planes.

Importantly, Speedfactory's purpose is also to be part innovation lab, one that involves consumers earlier than ever in Adidas' sneaker development.

"Right now, we are innovating as we go, almost on a daily basis. The consumer expects to be part of the innovation stream. They're ready to be beta testers." Gerd Manz.