Start-up Neatsy AI is tackling the problem of online footwear fit with an app that makes an accurate 3D foot scan using only an iPhone.

The mobile app – Neatsy-AI Sneaker Fit Finder – guides the user through a step-by-step process that helps retrieve sneaker recommendations based on the size and shape of their feet.

The app is currently available for iPhone users in the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Canada and Russia.

How does it work? The user installs the app and fills out a minute survey about their preferences. Then, using the selfie camera as a scanner, creates a full 3D map of his/her feet. The 3D scan works only on FaceID enabled iPhone (from iPhone X to newer models). The app currently makes size and fit suggestions based on the questionnaire for iPhone 7, 8, SE – with an Android version planned for next year.

AI machine learning techniques help predict which size fits best and provides a catalogue with major sneaker brands, such as Puma, Nike, Jordan Air and Adidas. Finally, the user gets the accurate measurements and personalised recommendations on the best shoes, so that the chances of returning fall dramatically. Once the user makes the selection, the app directs to the online store to finish the purchase.

Shoppers are cautious when buying shoes online because of the high probability of fit mismatch. According to Nike, three out of five people are likely to be wearing the wrong size shoe. 

According to Neatsy AI estimates, US$30bn is lost each year due to logistics costs, destruction of boxes, missing sneakers, and other factors. E-commerce giants are losing fortunes because of easier return policies to convince people to buy online. With more people shopping online during the Covid-19 crisis the problem has worsened.