Jun 8, 2016 | By Benedict

Feetz, a “digital cobbler” making sustainable 3D printed shoes, has announced a strategic partnership with DSW Inc., a leading footwear retailer. The two companies plan to take advantage of Feetz’ 3D printing expertise and DSW’s retail experience to deliver 3D printed footwear to the masses.

Where do we stand on 3D printed shoes? With New Balance releasing the 3D printed Zante Generate a few months ago and Nike about to sew up its own 3D printed sneakers with the help of HP, additively manufactured clogs have just about gone mainstream. It’s not all about the sportswear mega-brands though: some artists, designers, and tech-focused footwear specialists seem to be even further ahead in the game—remember those 3D printed heels worn by Jet Bussemaker, the Dutch Minister for Education? Those weren’t made by a high-street brand; they were made by experts at SLEM, an international footwear innovation institute. As the major names continue to drag their heels over some long-anticipated 3D printed products, perhaps its time we put our feet down and gave some other footwear makers a chance.

While you’ve probably heard of New Balance, you might not have heard of Feetz, a startup selling comfortable and recyclable 3D printed shoes for $199 a pair. Feetz is the brainchild of Lucy Beard, founder and CEO, who was fed up with never finding that perfectly fitting pair of shoes. Because of this, she decided to start making her own with a 3D printer. After raising $1.25 million in seed funding last year, Feetz has now become a fully fledged footwear company, and today took another big step forward as it announced a strategic partnership with DSW. The deal will see the two companies using Feetz’ additive manufacturing technology and DSW’s retail expertise to bring affordable, comfortable, and sustainable 3D printed shoes to the high street. DSW had previously led Feetz’ Series A funding, which also involved existing investors Khosla Ventures and The Jump Fund.

"DSW is excited at the possibility of bringing Feetz's innovative technology to our customers,” said Simon Nankervis, Chief Commercial Officer at DSW. “The Feetz model will allow our customers to purchase true custom fit shoes at a fraction of what traditional bespoke shoes cost. We believe that giving customers the ability to purchase on-demand, affordable, custom-fit shoes has the potential to disrupt the footwear market as we know it today.”

Everything about Feetz 3D printed shoes is tailored for maximum comfort. To ensure the best possible fit, each pair is available in 22 dimensions of fit, which customers can determine through Feetz’ special Size Me fitting system. And the shoes are made to last, too: each $199 pair is guaranteed for 500 miles of walking, and when they’ve taken their last steps, customers can simply send them back to the company, which will recycle the old clogs and send the customer a new pair.

"We've been amazed with the demand and the positive feedback we've received from our early Feetz customers,” Beard said. “We've been perfecting and protecting our technology for the last 18 months so every customer gets what they deserve: a shoe that fits. Our new 3D printing manufacturing facility in San Diego, the first of its kind, will fulfill thousands of orders per month. DSW's impressive reach and customer centricity makes them the perfect partner for Feetz.”

As part of the agreeement, Erin Kelly, Senior Director of Innovation at DSW, will join the Feetz board alongside Uli Becker, previously CEO of Reebok, and Vijit Sabnis of Khosla Ventures.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printer Company

 

 

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