a mass customized future
Special thanks to my dear instructor and mentor Kevin Beard

Primary Research & Insights

A 2-year-runner.
Who runs 3 times a week.

“I love my old running shoe. It is deformed to my foot shape so that it makes me feel comfortable.”
Old Shoe, Deformed, Comfortable

A novice runner
who runs twice a week.

“I love Nike Free because it feels like a sock wrapped up my foot. I feel secure and free.”
Sock like feeling Secure & Free.

An experienced runner
who runs everyday.

“ When you are an expert runner, any little changes in your shoe may hurt you ”
Details, hurt.

After 2 weeks of running, I started to have blisters on my heel. It was caused by excessive friction during running.

Blisters are caused by:

My shoe is not perfectly fit my foot. Therefore, every time I push forward, my shoe will fall behind. when I strike again and again, constant rubbing happens between my shoe and my heel.

Empathy research

I started to practice running and analysing my own gestures and strikes. Through the analysis, I found myself a heel striker and slight pronation on my right foot.

Pronation & Self Analysis

A footwear that is designed based on individual running parameters.

The Cushioning Structure

The mid-sole is where the core technology happens. It is a group of individual hexagonal springs.
Different material strength and structure density is applied according to individual running parameters.

How the Cushioning Works

Take heel strikers as an example.

Design Highlights

run.AI is designed on hexagons. Every detail and function fragment evolve from the simple hexagon shape.

Heel Counter

Heel counter design is based on the shape of the customer’s ankle and the support they need and their preference.

Under Foot

Design of the friction texture under foot is based on the physical analysis of the friction force the customer needs.

Toe Box

Toe box design is based on the analysis of the collected customer foot shape and their own preference.

Business Model Envision

No matter how advance our A.I is, we will always need a touch of humanity in the production process. Which means we give our customers the ability to adjust their final result based on their own preference.

Concept Development

From sketch to mock-up to 3D model to prototype.

Mock-ups & Presentation

Mock-ups help me to understand the concept myself while presentations help me to sell the story to others.

3D Modeling

Software Used:
Rhino & Grasshopper plug-in.

3D Grasshopper Model


3D printed prototype photography.
by Ronnie Dai

this is just a start...

@Fall 2016, I was invited to start an internship at VF corp (VANS, Timberland, The North Face...), Global Innovation Center. I was mainly working on parametric design on footwear.

@Summer 2017, I was introduced to VANS as a parametric consultant and worked with the team on a parametric solution for their innovative footwear.

Throughout the journey, I found huge potential to bring parametric design into product design. I believe the next revolution in the consumer industry will be led by data science, artificial intelligence, parametric design and automative manufacturing.

In this process, designers should take the lead and become the ones who connect all the dots with their deep empathy to the customers and their observation of human needs.

longtao wang @ Jan 14th 2018