gets to grips with the Adidas Virtual Footwear Wall (VFW)

Earlier this week Sport-Locker were invited down to the opening of the Adidas Virtual Footwear Wall (VFW) at their flagship store on Oxford St. After getting the video of the VFW designer Christ Aubrey giving a tutorial, we were very keen to have a go ourselves, and managed to have a chat with Chris who told us all about it as well.

The wall itself looks very impressive standing high at about 8ft tall, and made up of four 46” high-def displays so the boots, information and video content look great.

Navigating around the menu whilst reading up on the info and tech behind the boots was fun and felt smooth and natural to use. Swiping through the background stories, rotating and zooming in on the boots made it feel like using a big ipad.

For you tech-heads I’m told its run on an intel i7 powered PC, AMD Radeon HD 6990 graphics card running Windows 7. Just imagine Angry Birds on that!

I always like to read all the info and reviews before splashing out on a big new purchase, and this wall comes a lot of background about the story of the boot, and all the tech-specs on the f50 AdiZero and the Speed Cell chip.

Another cool feature is the real time link to what people are saying on twitter about the shoe you’re looking at. Seeing hundreds of people raving about it at that very moment could be that last little nudge that an indecisive person like myself needs to shell out that 200quid!

As fun and entertaining as the wall is, in the end, you’re there to buy a boot! And the great thing about having this wall in a shop instead of on a website is they have dummy plain boots right next to it to try on.

Once you’ve chosen you’re boot, studs, size and colour (would be good to get some more customisable features if-and-when the wall becomes permanent), a nice Adidas shop assistant will be over with a tablet to sort out paying.

There’s only 250 boots available before the end of the 2 week launch which ends on the 14th. You can see the names of the lucky people who have already got their parents to buy them an early Christmas present over the blacked-out boots on the scroll menu.

Each of those lucky 250 get a small white replica boot to take home. The boot then glows whenever there’s some new insider Adidas information available on their website, and saves your purchase ID to let you in to the special event on the 14th to collect your new boots, and rumour has it Gareth Bale could be making an appearance too.

Oh, and if that’s not enough, they’re giving away an iphone 4s to one of the new AdiZero owners as well. Its techy-football heaven!

A live feed of the wall is streamed to the outside shop window helping to get the attention of those passing by. Adidas are one of the first big names to bring interactive shopping to the high street, which could be a big part of future retail.

Other companies such as Philips are also testing interactive gesture controlled shop windows, which could give new meaning to ‘I’m just window shopping’. The bonus is, if the trains late it works even when the shops are shut.

Another advantage for big and smaller retailers is size. Pop up stores could now be much smaller. A few interactive walls could replace having each item that’s in stock out on the shop floor. Although I guess it’s pretty expensive for the time being.

If all goes well for the Virtual Footwear Wall in London, Adidas are planning to launch it over in the US to coincide with the release of the miCoach basketball shoe.

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