How Nike Is Using Robots, 3D Scans & Innovative Tech to Create More Inclusive Sports Bra Designs
Friday, June 3, 2022
by: Footwear News

Section: Member News


Nike is redefining how customers shop for athleticwear, focusing on overall sensation and style rather than prescribing items only based on sports performance in an effort to help women feel good in their bodies and what they put on them.

Nike’s messaging impacts both legging and bra offerings, which will have the consumer prioritize choosing a style they love first and then working to tailor support, size, color and other accompanying features. The brand shared insights and a look into its future on May 17 at its “Nike Future 50 For Her” conference in a discussion at its Los Angeles headquarters.

“There’s a fit revolution happening at Nike,” Tania Flynn, vice president of women’s apparel design said. “Our goal of serving a broader range of body types is integrated into everything we do.”


A model gets measured by a Nike designer.

To account for the shift, Nike’s three bra families — the Alate, Indy, and Swoosh — are all now available in light, medium and high support options. When it comes to sizing, the retailer now offers more than 70 cup sizes for users to choose from. Nike adds that every new bra silhouette that the Nike team designs will be available in sizes extra small to 4X, which is a larger range than previous releases.

“One of the biggest shifts you’re seeing from Nike is we’re embracing an expanded meaning of athletes,” Flynn says. “Nike’s playing field has widened, leading to a surge of meaningful women’s innovation — from maternity to modesty to new bra and leggings for all body shapes and sizes.”

A Nike designer tweaks a model’s sports bra to improve comfort and fit.

To expand Nike’s offerings in a meaningful way, the company is using d
ata visualization and avatars to help create better fitting options and tailored designs. The company enlisted thousands of women of all shapes and sizes to help create a digital library of 3D body maps, hoping to better understand the fit needs of all women.

That’s all not to mention the work of an actual sweating robot named Haley and a proprietary “Brabot” that mimics the soft tissue of breasts. Brabot can actually bend and contort into various positions, helping to depict the movement of breast tissue.

Nike says that with these new technologies, it has mastered designing for a body in motion, not just a static model on an online shopping page.

“We’re not just grading up,” Melissa Schirripa, vice president global apparel at Nike says. “We’re creating specific designs for a much larger percentage of our population to reinforce that sport will never be defined by size.”

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