When a book is written years from now about the evolution of ice hockey player skates, the chapter devoted to 2018 will be highlighted by one word: customization. That’s the hot trend, and it’s not cooling any time soon.
On July 14, 2017, Bauer introduced its 3D Skate Lab, a scanning device that analyzes a consumer’s foot profile and recommends which line of Bauer skates — Vapor, Supreme and Nexus — provides the optimal fit. Since then, it has accumulated over 200,000 scans in its system. The 3D Skate Lab also is in about 175 stores throughout North America, up from around 100 when it was released. Clearly, it’s been a hit. But Bauer isn’t stopping there.
Next on its agenda is customizing a skate based off of a 3D scan. Allow John Davidson, senior brand manager of skates at Bauer, to explain.
"We’ve invested in numerous backend technologies," he said. "There’s the scanner on the front end, but we will also have 3D printing, new ways of manufacturing and a process in which we’ll be hiring more people in our facility in Blainville, Quebec, to bring customization to every elite-level player around the globe. A lot of data is coming in, and we are having a better understanding of the unique requirements out in the marketplace to produce a better-performing product."
With that in mind, the skate company is launching a program called My Bauer, which is solely dedicated to the customization of skates using 3D scanning and 3D printing.