Jun 2, 2015 | By Alec

As 3D printed accessories and even entire outfits are slowly but surely taking over fashion runways throughout the world, it has always been just a matter of time before footwear followed. But despite numerous attempts, it has proven to be exceptionally difficult to 3D print shoes that not only fit well, but are also capable of withstanding the wear and tear shoes are subjected to. But it looks like things are about to change, as one Chinese start-up called JiaoDuKeJi, has not only developed some interesting 3D printed shoes, but has also developed a foot scanner that can be used to make custom pairs.

This Nanjing-based startup has unveiled this scanner and ten pairs of 3D printed shoes last week, and as they explained, their goals are not just to be fashionable. 'A lot of people, especially a lot of girls, are bothered by shoes. They wear beautiful but uncomfortable shoes, which can not only result in painful feet, but even in bone disease, changing toe forms and other complications over time,’ chief advisor of JiaoDuKeJi, Xu Chaoyi, explained. ‘This is because the shoe industry has always been focused on standard shoe sizes, instead of on customized feetwear. It’s therefore not surprising that shoes aren’t comfortablt, but JiaoDuKeJi wants to change all of that. We want to use digital and 3D printing techniques to revolutionize this industry and provide fitting, comfortable shoes for everyone.’

The scanner (bottom) in action.

But 3D design of square parts is difficult enough, let alone for the complex shapes of our feet. And that’s where their ‘magical device’ comes in handy. For JiaoDuKeJi has developed a portable 3D scanner than you can just stick your feet in. Within just three seconds, the scanner gathers all the necessary data for a digital rendering. Selecting one of the available shoe shapes (there are ten available designs at the moment), a custom set of shoes is 3D printed and sent to you in just three days. A very ingenious concept.

As Xu Chaoyi explained, these are thus custom in their functionality, instead of the appearance. ‘In general, custom shoes change mostly in appearance. For example, customers select preferences for carved letters, for an extra small ornament pieces and so on. But our 3D printed shoes look like any other pair but are more comfortable than ever thanks to 3D printing technology. They are made to fit your foot size, including foot length, width, foot bow shape, and the back of your feet. We call this in-depth  customization.’

And thanks to 3D printing technology, these custom shoes can be made cheaper than ever before – somewhere in the range of a few hundred RMBs (or around $50). ‘The shoe industry has already learned how to make shoes look prettier for a low cost, but no one can make truly comfortable shoes. We are trying to solve this problem; we have already achieved this in large-scale production, and at the same time, we have mastered fast and low-cost customization. It just shows what our unique technology can do.’

It sounds fantastic, as everyone in the world is in need of properly fitting shoes. While still cooperating and discussing with a number of well-known footwear manufacturers, Xu ChaoYi is therefore very confident about the startup’s future. ‘We are the country's first launcher and official seller of 3D printed shoes, so our future is limitless,’ he concludes. Could this become the future of footwear?



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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MyVideosToWatch Twitter wrote at 6/10/2015 2:08:23 PM:

Does anyone remember X-Ray machines in shoe shops uses to see how weel shoes fitted? Stopped after the dangers of X-Rays where where noted.

Jesse wrote at 6/3/2015 12:02:34 AM:

Take that Sols

tjife wrote at 6/2/2015 4:44:42 PM:

I think they can use a copy machine to do this

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