Don’t you hate it when you go out to buy a brand new pair of shoes, but when you try them on, they simply don’t fit? I have this happen frequently, and it unnerves me each time. I usually wear a shoe size somewhere between 8 and 8 1/2. However, size 8 is often too tight, while my heel will pop out of the the 8 1/2 every time I take a step. Usually my only solution is to purchase the larger size and then put those annoying heel pads inside of them. I won’t even mention how much I dislike those.
Thankfully, with the help of 3D printing, and particularly one company, this may no longer be a problem.
Last April, I had the opportunity to meet a lady named Lucy Beard. She was on hand at the Inside 3D Printing Conference to take part in a start-up competition, hoping to entice the many individuals on hand to believe enough in her product idea that they would be willing to invest into her newly formed company, Feetz.
Feetz is a shoe manufacturer unlike any company you have ever come across. Their idea is to use 3D printing technology to create one-of-a-kind perfectly fitting shoes for each individual customer. It is all done through a smartphone app, which simply asks you to take a few photos of your feet on top of a standard 8 1/2 x 11 inch piece of paper.
Today, Lucy Beard, CEO and Founder of Feetz, has informed 3DPrint.com that her company has successfully raised $1.25 million in a seed funding round led by Khosla Ventures. Additional partners include JumpFund and Uli Beck, who is the former CEO of Reebok, and also part of the Feetz board of directors.
“Today, we wear a shoe that’s been made and sized to fit anyone,” explained Beard. “I’m excited to bring a new reality to market by offering 7+ billion shoe sizes: 1 for everyone in the world. We celebrate your uniqueness by offering the only size you’ll ever need: SizeMeTM. Our shoes are not only custom fit but can be customized so that no two pairs are ever the same.”
Today it becomes official that shoe sizes are a thing of the past, as now everyone’s answer to the age old question of “What shoe size are you?” will simply be “SizeMe.”
I recently had the opportunity to test out the smartphone app while it remains in its beta phase. I must say that I walked away thoroughly impressed with how simple it was, and how accurate it was in providing a 3D printable STL file of my foot. The goal for Feetz is to take the data received from the smartphone app, and then have a custom 3D printed shoe delivered to their customers’ front doors within just 7 days.
“The core idea of Feetz is huge and so disruptive to footwear and its processes as we know it today,” noted Uli Becker, former Reebok CEO and new Feetz board member. “This paired with the substance both founders bring to the table, I decided to throw in my experience and support to help build the company, so that Feetz becomes a powerful force in the marketplace.”
Feetz will be on hand at SXSW this Saturday, March 14th as a ‘Wearables’ finalist at the Accelerator Event being held in the Hilton Hotel, Salon J at 11 AM. If you are interested in seeing what this company has in store for your feet, you should definitely check them out.
The funding raised will be used to help launch the Feetz platform directly to customers later this year, via the first micro-manufacturing center located in Chattanoogo, TN. It will be the first of hopefully many centers opening up in the coming years. Feetz shoes will start at around $200 a pair, and could be the solution for people like me who can never seem to find the perfect fitting shoe.
“Feetz has applied 3D printing technology to the footwear industry, enabling consumers to have a perfect customized fit,” said Vinod Khosla, partner at Khosla Ventures. “Founder and CEO, Lucy Beard came to us with her vision to never try on a pair of shoes again, and we’re excited to help make that a reality.”
What do you think about Feetz? Will this business model be successful? Discuss in the Feetz forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video below.