How Reebok Used 3D Body Shape Analysis to Reach New Heights in Apparel Performance
In 2011, as CrossFit® was becoming one of the fastest growing sports in America, it signed a 10-year partnership with sportswear giant Reebok. As the relationship evolved, Reebok took a closer look at the body shapes and sizes of CrossFit elite athletes. It revisited pattern blocks and grading rules and successfully launched the Rebook CrossFit® line of apparel.
As Andi Archer, apparel designer for the Reebok CrossFit line, explains, “Reebok is the leading fitness brand. We strive to be that and we want our apparel to fulfil the needs of our consumers across all ranges of fitness.” Michael Morganti, director of pattern apparel, adds: “At the time, there wasn’t a lot of information about the body types of the CrossFit athlete.” As a result, Reebok determined to gather CrossFit data. It tasked Alvanon to implement a 3D body shape survey of CrossFit athletes and apply that information and knowledge to the fit of the Reebok CrossFit line of apparel. Specifically, Reebok wanted to know what the average CrossFit body looked like, its average size range and how the CrossFit athlete’s body shape and size differs from the average athlete or gym-goer.
Alvanon embarked upon an infrared body scan project during which it scanned the bodies of 300 CrossFit athletes, many of whom were competing in the Reebok CrossFit games. The scanner’s 16 infrared light points scanned each body, generating over 80 measurements. It also scanned each person’s horizontal and vertical measurements. From these data points the computer automatically generated a 3D avatar of each person’s body shape.
The avatars showed the Reebok design and pattern-making teams exactly where the body measurements were marked. Archer explains: “We used this information to advise us on where to put cut seams, where a garment needed unrestricted movement and where we should insert more specific zoning in terms of heat regulation or anti-abrasion protection.”
Reebok CrossFit could have resorted to a traditional tape measure method of surveying its consumers, but as Morganti observed: “The advantage of using the scan technology over traditional tape measures is that you can get much more accurate information. The data can be gathered very quickly and we can immediately begin to implement the findings into the fit of our product.”The implications of the scan data are far reaching. Archer explains, “Worldwide we can range from ages, shapes, sizes, and across all different athletic abilities, and at different places on a CrossFit athlete’s journey.”
He concludes, “We want to make sure that we’re providing the CrossFit community with the strongest and most functional product we can—product that does not restrict movement while performing a CrossFit workout. The more people we scan, the more measurements we get, the more data we collect, the better our product will be.”Reebok has successfully demonstrated that fit can, and should, be a major factor in garment development. Indeed the fit factor can make the difference between a dissatisfied consumer who will never buy from that brand again and a satisfied customer who will reward good fit with repeated business.