The entire process is fairly simple: You walk into the By You Studio and put on a pair of Prestos that act as a white canvas. Then you step into a contraption that projects light onto the upper and lets you see how your designs looks in real time, right there on your feet as you're trying them on. Nike says it worked on this technology with W+K Lodge, a firm that experiments with artificial intelligence, virtual reality and more emerging mediums "to design experiences that people will care about."
Right now, a Nike associate will ask you what color you want the shoe to be or which pattern you prefer, and then that information is transmitted to the light projector. In the future, we're told the idea is to make that part of the experience automated with voice technology, meaning you won't necessarily need a human to guide you through the experience. Mark Smith, VP of Innovation Special Projects at Nike, says for the time being the key is to make this customization experience as simple and fun as possible. That's one of the reasons you can currently only choose between a few graphics packs and dozens of colors, even though he says there are hundreds more options that could be offered.
Naturally, one of the most interesting parts about the Makers' Experience is that Nike can make you a custom shoe in less than an hour. In our case, it actually only took 46 minutes, which is apparently the fastest time so far. That's mind-blowing when you think about the fact that when you order a shoe through NikeiD, the customization service the company launched in 1999, it takes 6 to 8 weeks to receive it. Sure, it helps that here you're locked into only designing the upper rather than the entire shoe, but that's impressive nonetheless.