Adidas: Personalizing shoe design with the Speedfactory

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Adidas was developing a new way of creating and manufacturing shoes, known as the Speedfactory. Its promise was to provide fully customized shoes at the biometric level, using the latest manufacturing technologies. Simply put – Speedfactory was a chance for customers to join in on the manufacturing process and personalize the design of their shoe, on demand.

Adidas wanted to launch Speedfactory globally – despite the fact that it was in development and not fully functional – in order to own the segment and position adidas as a pioneer of innovation and speedy creation.

Our challenge? With limited product and process information, design a retail launch that was deeply human, changing and evolving – not cold and robot-like – to launch its first aspirational product, the AM4, and place adidas in the forefront of innovation.


Unlike a typical factory, the Speedfactory is a manufacturing process that constantly evolves and redefines itself and its own capabilities by always remaining in beta. So mining any information about its potential and functioning was quite difficult. In the end, the team realized that although the Speedfactory is real and being built, it’s very much in its infancy.


“Always in Beta” – a singular retail experience that always evolves and redefines itself based on the visitor, the city and the time.

A space for customers to personalize the design of their shoe, on demand.


“Always in Beta” exposed the audience not only to the Speedfactory’s limitless flexibility, but also to its first product, the AM4, through a series of immersive and engaging retail installations deployed at adidas flagship stores worldwide.

Because the resulting experience had to be ever evolving and exhibit a sense of customization, it was tailored to the city. The first step was to round up all inputs per city, which included:

  • Existing retail environment
  • City location
  • Color of the streets
  • Local average weather
  • Local language

The experience was comprised of separate areas, enticing the audience from the outside of the store with biometric scanning screens and digitally mimicking passerby movement. Once inside, the audience was exposed to a prime area explaining the concept of the Speedfactory using activations with real time content generation personalized to each visitor. Finally, the audience was led to the AM4 area where they could experience the new shoe and be invited to make a purchase.

Attendees could interact with the installation at all touch points, from the shop windows outside, to inside using movement. We designed a truly new way to interact with the product where attendees were invited to pick up the new AM4 and see it displayed in front of a large screen.

The physical movement of the shoe piloted the movement of a digital version, while pointing at key elements and displaying associated messaging. Everything was controlled by the attendee and experienced in real-time.

This was not just a retail experience – it was dynamic, always changing, blurring the lines of digital and physical.

We executed the installation first in Paris and London, and developed a set of physical and digital design guidelines to extend the activation to other locations.


Adidas saw significant increase in brand perception, as innovative and cutting edge, while raising awareness about its new and future driven manufacturing process, the Speedfactory.

The Speedfactory also:

  • Helped engage conversations about sportswear manufacturing overall and the will of adidas to re-localize its manufacturing process in UE and US.
  • Generated interest in following the launch of the various AM4s around the world and finally drove purchase of the new AM4.