While Gucci is among the most recognizable brands in fashion, you would be excused for not realizing that the company makes sneakers as well.
Yet, here we are, with Gucci adding an augmented reality try-on camera tool to its iOS mobile app, available now via the App Store, for its Ace sneakers line, which the company calls a "mainstay" of its collection.
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With top billing on the app's home screen, the Ace Try On tool overlays 19 models of sneakers on users' camera view of their feet. Users can take a snapshot of the results to share with others and then proceed to Gucci's website via app link to purchase the pair that they prefer (unfortunately, the purchase process doesn't happen within the app).
Gucci tapped Wannaby for the task of implementing AR in its app. Previously, Wannaby introduced the functionality in its own Wanna Kicks mobile app.
As with the Wanna Kicks app, the Gucci experience works better with bare feet or socks on. Even then, though, the tracking is less accurate than, say, face tracking on Snapchat, but it gives users an idea of whether a certain pair of sneakers will match the outfit they're wearing.
If you're like me, and didn't know that Gucci sneakers were a thing, then the experience brings a lot more visibility to the sneaker line. Then again, if you're like me, you typically don't spend upwards of $600 on sneakers. But I digress.
What's somewhat surprising about this development is that Gucci beat more mainstream sneaker brands like Nike and Adidas in terms of adopting AR for virtual try-ons at home. But that doesn't mean that those brands are sleeping on AR.
Nike is preparing an AR mobile tool for measuring customers' feet and used AR to sell sneakers via its own app. Also, Adidas has served as a preview partner of Snapchat's Shoppable AR tool and experimented with in-store AR experiences via Adobe's Project Aero.
Even Puma has gotten in on the act with a line of AR-enabled sneakers.
So while self-lacing sneakers influenced by Back to the Future grab the headlines, it is augmented reality that is increasingly injecting new technology into footwear.