Nike has unveiled a new way to try on sneakers at its stores without talking to anyone. Here’s how it works.

A poster in the Nike store at The Grove, encouraging use of the new service.

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A poster in the Nike store at The Grove, encouraging use of the new service.
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Business Insider/Dennis Green

  • Nike has released a new way to try on shoes in select Los Angeles area stores.
  • It enables customers who download and use the Nike app to try on shoes without interacting with a Nike store associate.
  • I tried it on a recent visit to LA and found it works well, but its usefulness is limited to certain situations.

LOS ANGELES – Nike knows customers want to try before they buy, so it’s making that a little easier to do.

The world’s largest sportswear seller has debuted a new way to request shoe try-ons in stores, along with new functionality in its smartphone app.

Each shoe has a little barcode inside, which can be scanned using a feature on the app. Doing so brings up an option to try on any version of the shoe currently in stock at the store. Wait in the designated area, and a Nike employee will trot out the shoe you requested within a few minutes. There’s no pressure to buy.

The feature is currently being piloted in a few West Coast stores before Nike rolls it out to the rest of its retail footprint. On a recent trip to Los Angeles for the opening of Nike’s newest concept at the Nike by Melrose store, I took the opportunity to check out how the app works in practice.

One of the pilot locations is Nike’s store at The Grove, a large outdoor luxury mall. In my experience, the new service worked exactly as advertised. I could definitely see it being a useful tool if you can’t find an employee to help, or if you’d just rather not talk to somebody.

Scan-to-try is part of a suite of features Nike is launching on a small scale, then rolling out to the rest of its stores. Scan enables scan-to-try, Reserve allows customers to select items in advance to try on in-store, and Instant Unlocks gives access to freebies within the app.

Here’s how scan-to-try works:


Nike’s three-story, 31,000-square-foot store in The Grove is where I decided to test the scan-to-try feature.

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Business Insider/Dennis Green

A sign in the men’s shoe try-on area advertised the new service, but before I could even open my phone, a helpful Nike employee asked me if I was looking for anything specific. I had to wave her off for the purpose of the test.

A poster in the Nike store at The Grove, encouraging use of the new service.

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Business Insider/Dennis Green

Each shoe has a barcode.

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Business Insider/Dennis Green

Point this box from the Nike app at the barcode (and not the floor) to scan the shoe.

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Business Insider/Dennis Green

The app then automatically pulls up the model of the shoe, along with the colors it comes in and the sizes it currently has in stock.

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Business Insider/Dennis Green

Select a size and color, and you’ll progress to the waiting screen.

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Business Insider/Dennis Green

Once an associate grabs the request, you’ll get a notification.

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Business Insider/Dennis Green

At that time, it’s a good idea to search for the area where the employee will bring the shoes. At The Grove, it’s near the elevators.

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Business Insider/Dennis Green

I spy a door with a wall of characteristic orange shoe boxes behind it. I feel confident enough to know exactly where the shoes are going to come from.

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Business Insider/Dennis Green

And they do! A Nike employee comes out, verifies my name, and walks away immediately.

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Business Insider/Dennis Green

Here they are, the Nike Epic React Odyssey in all black. I’m pleased that I’m left to decide if I like the shoes in peace.

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Business Insider/Dennis Green

In all, the process probably took about five minutes. It all felt seamless, and if you can’t find an employee, it’s a perfectly good option. Just asking an employee for help would probably be easier, though.

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Business Insider/Dennis Green