Mar 24, 2017 | By Tess
For many of us, summer may still seem far away, but 3D printed shoe brand Wiivv is gearing up for warmer weather with the launch of a Kickstarter campaign for its innovative custom-fit sandals, made using 3D scanning and 3D printing technologies. Backers can get their hands on a pair of bespoke flip flops starting at $70.
Founded in 2014, Wiivv describes itself as a “bionics company that creates 3D printed, custom gear using 3D-mapping technology.” And after seeing its many successes over the past few years (which include raising $3.5 million in 2015, and more recently acquiring its competitor eSoles for $4 million), there seems to be little doubt that the Vancouver-based company is now leading the way for 3D printed custom-fit footwear.
If you’re not familiar with Wiivv’s process for capturing and making its shoes, you might be surprised at how accessible and easy it is for consumers to use. That is, using the Wiivv smartphone app (available for both iOS and via Google Play), users simply have to take photos of their feet from various angles (using a sheet of paper as reference). From the photos, the Wiivv app is able to map over 200 data points from each foot, which are automatically transformed into an accurate 3D model.
At that point, the 3D model of the user’s foot is sent to Wiivv’s manufacturing facility in San Diego, where customized arch supports are 3D printed, and the sandals are constructed based on the user’s foot measurements. Of course, users also have a say in what color sandal they want, as the arch color and strap color can be personalized.
Anyone who has worn a pair of $5 flip flops for anything more than 20 minutes will know the discomfort they can cause, from arch pain, to toe cramps, all the way to searingly painful blisters. According to Wiivv, its custom-fit 3D printed flip flops do away with those symptoms as they offer customized arch support, triple-density foam footbeds for comfort, compressible heel cups for shock absorption, customized foot width, and bespoke straps which hold your feet in place.
That being said, Wiivv’s 3D printed shoes will cost you a bit more than $5, as the custom-fit sandals are retailing for $95 a pair. As mentioned, Kickstarter backers do have the opportunity to order their sandals at a reduced cost, starting at $70 per pair. For a pledge of $275, there is also the option to receive a pair of special edition sandals, which for men is a leather Frank Beneducci sandal, and for women is a Swarovski sandal which features a crystal-covered strap.
Another notable feature of Wiivv’s sandals is that their footbeds are marketed as 100% closed loop recyclable. That means that wearers can bring their old, used Wiivv sandals back to the company, which will break down and reuse the materials for new shoes. In its effort to be as sustainable as possible, Wiivv has also said it will open a local manufacturing facility in any eligible country (Canada, Australia, UK, Ireland, New Zealand) that orders more than 25,000 pairs of sandals. Currently, all of its shoes are manufactured and assembled at its San Diego facility.
The Kickstarter campaign, which officially launched on March 23, has already raised over $50,000 of its $250K goal. If the crowdfunding is successful, backers can expect to receive their custom-fit 3D printed sandals by either July or August 2017.
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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