Made-to-order running shoes

It sounds a little futuristic, but Superfeet, which has been making insoles for 40 years, unveiled its new FitStation at the event, a trade show for businesses that sell running gear and stores that sell it. The show is taking place this week at the Austin Convention Center, and I dropped by Thursday, checking out new products, meeting elite runners like 2014 Boston Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi and 2004 Olympic bronze medalist in the marathon Deena Kastor, and talking about industry trends.

A crowd formed at the Superfeet booth, where attendees tested out a 3D scanner and gait analysis pad that collects data used to make custom-fit insoles, shoes and recovery sandals. Superfeet has placed 10 of these “FitStations” in stores around the country as part of a pilot program.

Superfeet calls the process “kinetic profiling,” and company representative Dave Kennedy told me it can also help runners predict what type of injuries they might be prone to – and hopefully prevent them through proper footwear choice.

Here’s how it works: A customers stands new balance 410 womens on the scanner, which measures his or her foot. Then he walks across the gait analysis mat two or three times. It takes just a few minutes. Based on the information collected, and data that Superfeet has gathered from numerous running shoe makers, it can then recommend several brands of shoes that might work for the person.

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