>> This might be the future of shoemaking. Adidas unveiling what it says is the world's first footwear made almost entirely by robots. It comes from the company's new Speedfactory which has opened in Germany, where robots replace a large number of the army of labor normally involved in shoemaking.
If they prove successful, such factories would turn the industry upside down. But Reuters correspondent in Berlin Emma Thomasson says, change won't happen overnight.>> Well, these new factories, first in Germany and later in the US, do mean factories and production of shoes is happening again in countries like Germany.
But it's only producing a small number of shoes at the moment, I think to start off with a few hundred thousand. And that compares with the more than 300 million pairs of shoes that Adidas produce in Asia at the moment.>> The Speedfactory, part of a drive to respond faster to fashion trends and offer more customization.
Adidas' Director of Development David Drury says, it's about giving the shopper what they want when and where they want it.>> It's an opportunity for us to disrupt with brand new technologies and bring these as fast as possible to consumers.>> And fast it will be. Adidas expects to cut its production time from 18 months to as little as 45 days.
For the world's shoemakers, it could be a mixed blessing, though. The International Labor Organization estimates footwear, clothing, and textiles account for 9 million jobs in Asia. It says those jobs look more vulnerable than most to technological change. But Adidas says growth will more than make it up.>> They expect demand for its shoes to increase by 50% in the next few years that they just need extra capacity.
So at the moment, they're talking about complementing those factories rather than replacing them.>> But it's not just speed, it's unique customization. Rival Nike is working closely with Hewlett-Packard on advances in 3D printing. And all that personalized tailoring doesn't come cheap. These shoes will still go for premium prices.