The Slovenia Times

Slovenian research part of new Adidas and Lululemon trainers

BusinessScience & EducationSport

Sportswear manufacturers Adidas and Lululemon have applied the findings that Slovenian researchers have made about differences between human feet to design brand new pairs of women's trainers.

The Ljubljana-based Jožef Stefan Institute (JSI), the Swedish 3-D scanning company Volumental and the Ljubljana Faculty of Computer and Information Science have analysed more than one million scanned images of feet from people living in North America, Europe and Asia.

Their findings, published in the journal Scientific Reports in 2019, showed significant differences across regions and gender-wise. "The article has since been viewed over 60,000 times and has been cited in 21 science articles, which is a great success for such a niche area," the JSI said.

Data science is one of the fields of research conducted by the JSI Department of Knowledge Technologies, headed by Sašo Džeroski. They have been working together with Aleš Jurca from Volumental, which provides 3D feet scanning data and tools and footwear adjustment research.

The German multinational corporation Adidas used the study's findings directly from the publication and included the names of the researchers in a promo advertising the new trainers.

The Canada-based multinational company Lululemon had initially only designed sports clothing. A few years ago they decided to branch out into sports footwear and started cooperating with Volumental.

The women's trainers they launched, designed based on the findings, have received the coveted FN Achievement Awards Launch of the Year, "which is considered a sort of Oscar in the footwear industry", the JSI said.

Research on feet and adequate footwear still holds major potential, said Jurca from Volumental. In the 20 years of working with the institute, they have developed products of a much higher quality than they would have otherwise and have accumulated a vast amount of data, bringing research on optimizing footwear to a completely new level, he added.

"In recent years I have noticed people are increasingly doubting science, so this cooperation is that much more important. Our study is a great example of how science can explore something that concerns everybody, and innovative companies can use the results to make major improvements to their products," Džeroski said.


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