Wiivv Engineer Plans to Run Boston Marathon in 3D Printed Flip-Flops

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[Image: Chris Bellamy via Instagram]

Most people don’t even like to walk very long distances in flip-flops. They’re not exactly meant for it, with their flat beds, zero ankle support, and uncomfortable thong-thing. They’re meant for going to the beach, or kicking around the yard, not for hiking, or walking around cities, and certainly not for running marathons. The very idea is laughable. Or is it? Yes. Yes it is. But one guy is still doing it – although granted, his flip-flops aren’t just any ordinary ones. Chris Bellamy is an engineer at Wiivv, the maker of the 3D printed insoles that broke records on Kickstarter. A year after that, the company introduced 3D printed customized sandals to Kickstarter and broke its own record, raising a total of $566,401.

When that second Kickstarter campaign launched, Bellamy made a bet with supporters: if the company raised $500,000 or more, he would run the Boston Marathon wearing a pair of Wiivv’s 3D printed flip-flops. That’s how firmly he believes in the quality of the sandals, he said.

“When everyone said our sandal was impossible, I bet them that I’d be able to run a marathon in them, and now I will,” said Bellamy. “There is nothing more pleasing as an engineer than to put your money where your mouth is. We’ve reengineered every part of the traditional flip flop to design the most comfortable, optimized sandal ever created, and I’ve had this marathon in the back of my mind through every decision we made.”

[Image: Wiivv]

It’s hard to imagine how much any company could do to make a flip-flop more comfortable, but Wiivv claims to have done it, and its 4,829 Kickstarter backers believe it. The sandals are still being pre-ordered, so no reviews are out yet, but the company has the track record of its insoles to back it up – and we know from experience, its insoles are indeed comfortable. Wiivv’s technology is extremely thorough in measuring its customers’ feet; it measures more than 200 points on each individual’s foot to ensure a perfect contour map. That means a flip-flop that is perfectly shaped to your foot, with customized arch size and placement, custom length and width, and even custom placement of the thong-thing.

It’s still hard to imagine running an entire marathon in flip-flops – I can’t even imagine running an entire marathon in running shoes. But the lack of ankle support concerns me, as does the, well, flip-flopping – but Bellamy believes he can do it, and as one of Wiivv’s engineers, he knows full well the quality of the company’s flops. This can’t have been an idle bet, either – based on the success of Wiivv’s previous product, he had to have known there was a good chance that the Kickstarter campaign would have surpassed $500,000. Bellamy was prepared from the beginning for the possibility of running a marathon in flip-flops, and if he’s successful, there’s really no better endorsement for the 3D printed shoes. I imagine sales are likely to go up quite a bit – though they’re already high.

The Boston Marathon takes place this coming Monday, April 16th.

Updated to add: Bellamy successfully ran the Boston Marathon, finishing with a final time of 2:59:36 – while wearing his sandals!

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