The Italian brand Stefano Bemer has just introduced a new innovation within the world of classic footwear, where an NFC tag embedded in the shoe makes it possible for customers to scan any shoe with a smartphone and apart from regular product info also find info on the specific materials used, where it’s sourced and so on.
Within the quality shoe industry, we’ve for obvious reasons haven’t seen much technical innovations in recent decades. The shoes are made with traditional construction techniques, and most modern materials introduced are of inferior quality and mainly meant to reduce price, not improve quality. Modernised machines have in cases improved efficiency without interfering with quality, but it’s not something that really shows in the end results. Main modern tech thing that we’ve seen is the use of 3D scanning to find the right size, or to make modified or bespoke lasts from, with varied but mainly bad results this far.
Now, Stefano Bemer brings in highly modern technology, but do it a bit differently. In all new shoes they make, they will have an NFC tag embedded in the toe (Santoni did something similar last year, but then only with NFC stickers on the shoes in one of their stores where one could place them next to a screen to get info). This is a very small, thin chip that contains a small amount of information that it can share with any device that can read an NFC tag, like a smartphone. It doesn’t hold a battery, but uses the electricity from the smartphone, similar to wireless charging, which is why you have to be within 10 cm or so to read an NFC tag.
When one hold up a smartphone towards a new Stefano Bemer shoe, you will be taken to a page which displays the basic info about the shoes and the brand and all that, with links to dwell deeper if one like, and most interestingly also information about all the materials used in the shoe, what it’s made from where it’s sourced, and so on. In the path of sustainability and traceability, surely a positive thing. Perhaps inspired by Josefin Liljeqvist who made the first fully traceable footwear a while back, who actually makes her dress shoes with Bemer, in that case it’s with a code though here the NFC tag takes the tech part a step further. An interesting new approach which perhaps isn’t a game changer but definitely adds some value for customers.