As summer gets closer, many people are tossing aside their boots and pulling out sandals – and there are plenty of options available. If you’re looking to try something new, there’s also more than one 3D printed option out there this summer. A couple of months ago, we saw Wiivv break its own record for most funded 3D printed product on Kickstarter with its 3D printed, custom fit sandals, and now a new company has come along offering their own take on personalized 3D printed summer footwear, creating a fully custom-made pair of shoes for each customer.
OLT Footcare is a division of 3D printing and scanning company TDL Systems, dedicated to creating customized orthotics and now, with a new Kickstarter campaign, 3D printed customized sandals. Every foot is different, OLT points out, so every shoe should be tailored to its wearer – an increasingly popular idea as 3D printing starts to establish a place in the footwear industry.
OLT Footcare creates their sandals by 3D scanning customers’ feet and using the digital models to 3D print a custom full-length midsole, which is then combined with a conventional outsole and sandal uppers. Precision is critical to OLT – if a customer does not have access to one of the company’s foot scanners, they’ll send you a foam box for you to make an impression of your feet. Mail the foam box back to them, and they’ll use the impression to get a perfectly accurate scan. Prescription orthotics can also be incorporated into the midsoles.
3D scanning takes about two seconds per scan, and accuracy is guaranteed to 0.15 mm. Once the digital model is created, with or without prescription modifications, it’s digitally fitted to the original scan to see if any further modifications are needed. The midsole is then 3D printed in a flexible material, with an internal lattice structure to control flexibility and firmness. The digital design of the midsole is then used to laser cut the outsole, and the full shoe is assembled. The digital data from each customer’s feet is also saved for future orders.
“Our 3D printed custom sandals are more than a pair of sandals,” the company states. “It takes personalization to a totally new dimension and represents a brand new footwear category of mass customization and on-demand manufactured via 3D printing. Imagine walking into a shoe store, getting both feet scanned in minutes, watching how the shoes are going to fit your foot’s 3D contour on a computer screen, making modifications, placing an order and few hours later getting a pair of 3D printed custom shoes. The future of on-demand shoe manufacturing with mass customization via 3D printing is now available for the first time.”
The OLT Kickstarter campaign is trying to raise $30,000 by July 29. Rewards include some significant discounts on sandals; the retail price is expected to be $159, but for a $49 pledge you can get an early review pair complete with prescription orthotics. That option is mostly geared towards medical practitioners who can take their own plaster casts of people’s feet and send them in; for $69, OLT Footcare will send you a foam impression box for you to take an impression and send back. For higher pledge amounts, you can get multiple pairs. (All prices are in Canadian dollars.)
According to OLT Footcare, their custom sandals improve balance, distribute body weight more evenly, and are overall more comfortable than conventional footwear. Even if a customer has a discrepancy between right and left leg length, the condition can be corrected by 3D printing one midsole more thickly than the other for perfect balance.
Check out the full details of the Kickstarter campaign here, and take a look at the Kickstarter video below:
Discuss in the OLT Footcare forum at 3DPB.com.