After connecting with Pensole Lewis College of Business & Design (PLC) founder D’Wayne Edwards last year, foot scanning technology company Aetrex revealed it has entered into a partnership with the higher education institution.
In a statement released today, Aetrex announced it has entered into a partnership with PLC — the country’s first design-focused Historically Black College or University (HBCU) — to further the school’s mission “to help diverse, budding designers break into the world of product creation and improve the industry for the next generation.”
“PLC relies on support from brands like Aetrex to make our programming possible and open up opportunities in the industry for our talented students,” Edwards said in a statement. “Over the past year, PLC has served around 150 students — tuition-free, without prior educational requirements. We’re thrilled to integrate Aetrex Technology into our curriculum to further our goal of preparing the largest talent pool of progressive creatives to enter the industry and leave it better than we found it.”
Aetrex revealed in a statement that it met with Edwards in late 2022 to discuss how its foot scanning technology could help shoe designers create better fitting and functioning footwear. After discussing the college’s needs, according to Aetrex, a partnership was formed and the foot scanning technology company donated its premier 3D foot scanner Albert 2 Pro to the school.
After the donation was made, Aetrex said PLC students started to explore the technology’s capabilities in a course with New Balance, and in the program they scanned the feet of five athletes to analyze and categorize shoe styles for better-fitting footwear designs.
“We recognize the footwear industry always has room to grow — both in developing better-fitting footwear and in employing a more diverse and representative population of designers,” Aetrex national accounts manager Justin Dyszelski said in a statement. “That’s why we’re working with Pensole to make industry-leading design technologies available to the next generation of students so that they can access and learn the innovative tools of the trade and use their passions to help propel our industry forward.”
In October 2021, Edwards revealed to FN his history-making plans for PLC. At the time, the beloved shoe designer sought to reopen The Lewis College of Business, a Detroit-based HBCU founded by the late Violet T. Lewis that closed in 2013. What’s more, Edwards shared his plans to transform the closed school into the country’s first HBCU to focus on design.
Aetrex, which was established in 2002, has placed more than 12,000 foot scanners worldwide and completed more 50 million-plus unique foot scans. Its partners include Boa, Burton, Marathon Sports, Rocky Brands and several others.
At last year’s FN CEO Summit, which was held on Aug. 3 and The Plaza Hotel in New York, Aetrex CEO Larry Schwartz addressed why the broader industry has been slow to adopt foot sizing technologies. “Our industry needs more modern in-store sizing for shoes. The biggest challenge is that it’s a tough sell from the middle up,” Schwartz said. He also said if top-level executives within a business don’t embrace the technology, “it’s a tough thing to sell.”
By Peter Verry