Jun 8, 2017 | By Tess

OLT Footcare, a startup based in Windsor, Canada, has launched a Kickstarter campaign for its custom-made 3D printed sandals. The company is one of a growing number of footwear brands offering clients an affordable way to get their feet into comfortable, supportive, and tailor-made shoes.

When I go shoe shopping, I often dread the inevitable question “What size shoe are you?” Often, I am a 9, I say, though sometimes I’m an 8.5 or 10. In the end, I’m surrounded by a number of boxes, all containing shoes that almost fit, but are not a perfect match to my feet.

With the emergence of 3D scanning and 3D printing technologies, however, there now seems to be a way to manufacture custom shoes in an efficient (read: affordable) way. OLT Footcare is the latest company to offer clients comfortable shoes with a personalized fit achieved through 3D printing.

OLT Footcare’s sandals, which bear a similar aesthetic to the ever-trendy Birkenstock sandal, are made up of a customized full-length 3D printed midsole, a laser-cut custom outsole, and standard sandal uppers (two straps and two buckles). Each pair is made to order.

The midsoles are made based on the client’s foot measurements, which are captured using the OLT Foot Scanner, a machine about the size of a photocopier that is capable of scanning the bottom of a foot in only seconds and which can generate over 10,000 XYZ points with 0.2 mm accuracy for each foot.

For clients who cannot access the OLT Foot Scanner directly, the machine is also capable of scanning foot impressions or castings. To make things easy, OLT Footcare says it will send out a foam box which can be used to take impressions.

“We don’t guess 3D contour shape from a 2D picture of the side of a foot,” says the company. “This would be comparable to a regular 2D picture of me and asking you to guess my height. This practice doesn’t meet our standards. That's why we only use our true 3D foot scanner.”

Once the scan of the foot is captured, a 3D model is generated. It is this model of the client’s sole that is used as a base to design the customized full-length midsole. To account for different-sized feet on a single person, two scans are taken and 2 models are made—one for each foot.

Next, a desktop 3D printer is used to manufacture the custom midsole. According to OLT Footcare, the 3D printed midsole also integrates a varying internal lattice structure, which provides different levels of support for the wearer as well as some flexibility to the sole. The sandal’s outsole is then laser cut to match the midsole, before the shoe can be assembled.

The company describes the sandal saying: “It will fit perfectly to each foot to provide ultimate comfort and the right amount of arch support. As a result, it improves your balance and distributes the body weight more evenly because they are 3D printed from the impressions or scans of your own foot.”

Through the Kickstarter campaign, OLT Footcare is offering a number of different rewards, including some geared towards reviewers. For $49, medical professionals can obtain a pair of custom sandals providing that they review them before July 22; non-professionals can do the same for a pledge of $69.

Early-bird backers with a prescription for the sandals can get a pair for $79, while the general early-bird deal stands at $99. A pair at regular price (via Kickstarter) is going for $159. Currently, the campaign is only shipping to the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Earliest deliveries are estimated for July 2017.

Check it out—your feet won't regret it.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Laura Mackay wrote at 7/7/2017 8:02:25 PM:

I have lymphoedema, large swollen feet, enlarged ankles with a soft tissue deformity that makes footwear impossible. A 3d printed sole may be a solution but I would need the upper to be customised too. The style is ok but the swelling over the midfoot means extra material would be necassary. I could provide pictures and measurements. Is this something you can do????? It would be great if you could as I am pretty much housebound as have no shoes. Thanks

B1 wrote at 6/9/2017 8:27:39 PM:

What is the midsole material and how does it compare to traditional PU, cork or EVA? My first impression was ninjaflex or a similar TPU.

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