Does anyone remember the story of Imelda Marcos’ shoe collection? She was the wife of Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos, who held that title from 1965-1986. I was in high school when the news story of his resignation broke, along with the story about her shoe collection. She had thousands of pairs of shoes! Her infamous shoe collection was held up as a symbol of everything that’s wrong with the wealth and luxurious extravagance of politicians out of touch with the poor of their country. In fact, the Marcos family was forced into exile by the People Power Revolution who installed their own leader. What does this have to do with 3D printing? Just wait! Back in the mid-’80s, thousands of pairs seemed like a ridiculous number of shoes. Flash forward to today.
The 3D printing space intersecting with women’s obsession for shoes has captured the clarion call of the shoe-serious shoppers to the tune of over 300,000 trillion (calculate that!) different possible 3D printable shoe styles from a company called Shoes of Prey.
Online retailer Shoes of Prey, based in Australia, currently allows customers to design their own shoes using the 3D design platform on their website. But, in a recent article, company co-founder Jodie Fox stated that she is very interested in expanding their customized design concept to become a full fledged 3D design and printing process. And since each pair is already custom designed by customers who begin by choosing from 12 essential shoe shapes — like flats, stilettos, and oxfords — then play with over 170 different fabrics, to see various shades and textures, and bingo! Place your order. Your shoes are guaranteed to be received within 4 weeks.
Where Fox would eventually like to be, using 3D printing, is overnight shipping to customers of shoes they designed the day before. This would be major traffic for a site where shoppers have already designed 5 million shoes so far.
3D printing is attractive, as we know, for its efficiency and customization when it comes to shoes. We’ve already seen other 3D printed shoe designs and companies spring up. Fox acknowledges 3D printed shoes would require Shoes of Prey printing hubs around the world. (Right now a factory in China manufactures and ships the shoes.) Just imagine a merging of the over 300,000 trillion design options that the company already boasts with a speedier production and delivery service. Shoes of Prey has imagined just that.
You can design your own shoes, check out designer collaborations, or recent collections, all on the very functional and user-friendly website that even offers designing and style advice. In fact, the company is so thorough that I figured there would be some story behind the name to help me wrap my mind around the concept of predatory shoes, and I just couldn’t find anything. Hey! Speaking of company names, maybe if Fox gets these global printing hubs off the ground, they’ll change the company name to Shoes of Print or something. Just an idea… In the meantime, ahem, I was just gonna browse through a few trillion shoe styles to find my ultimate pair of Florida flats.
Discuss this story in the Shoes of Prey forum thread on 3DPB.com.