The Brannock Device v Nike Augmented Reality

Big Red Car here on a cloudy ATX day thinking about shoes.

The gold standard for measuring feet — since 1927 — is something called the Brannock Device. It can be purchased from the company on their website

You know all about it. Here is the Brannock device in all of its ambidextrous loveliness. Look familiar?

Nike, Just Do It!

So, recently Nike announced that it has updated its augmented reality foot measuring tool.

[Imagine the cherubim and the seraphim singing in the background: AUGMENTED REALITY! AUGMENTED REALITY!]

As opposed to a Brannock Device, the Nike app will measure the size, shape, and volume of your foot. They claim their app can arrive at accuracies of two millimeters.

Fun fact: men’s size 1 is 7 2/3 inch long and each increase in size adds 1/3 inch. That is the mathematical basis for the Brannock Device. Widths vary by 1/16th of an inch along the continuum of AAA, AA, A, B, C, D, E, EE, and EEE.

Charles Brannock — son of Otis who was in the shoe business in Syracuse, New York — invented the BD while a student at Syracuse University. He got a patent and started a company to make them. And, the rest, is history!

Why is this important, Big Red Car?

Because, dear reader, the size 12 of one company is the size 12.5 of another company. Sizing is not consistent from company to company.

Nike, of course, is trying to sell you a Nike shoe. They want to put your lovely foot — as measured by its augmented reality app for size, shape, and volume — in the right Nike shoe regardless of how it compares to other size twelves.

Makes sense, right?

They also intend to provide you with a bit of actual data — what Nike shoe did other customers with the same measurements buy?

So, Big Red Car, why is this important?

Because, dear reader, it is incomprehensible that Nike hadn’t already done something like this instead of relying on a century old tech, the Brannock Device. How did mankind get this far into the world without this?

How is this new Nike app not the most obvious  use of a bit of tech since the beginning of shoes?

By the way, the Nike app? Not available until July in the USA and August in Europe. Nike will use the app in its own stores and abandon the Brannock Device when it does.

Is this a great country or what?

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Be good to yourself. You deserve it.