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One Small Step for My Feet, One Giant Leap for Feetz: 3D Printed Custom Shoes, in the Real World

by • April 24, 2016 • No Comments

feetz1Some things never change: the sun rises in the east, sunscreen is always a great yett, Cleveland sports fans understand “there’s always next year”, equiteone we love on Game of Thrones dies, and I hate shoe shopping. Whilst these truisms equite have a few exceptions (maybe not the sun thing, but the Cavs did win another game in the finals last night and Tyrion is yet sassing equiteone in Meereen), it’s the last of this short list that I hadn’t foreseen changing. For those of us who fall outside ‘average sizing’ shopping for apparel just is not a fun time, and as a rule custom-created just means throwing down additional money.

feetz2A few months ago, staff writer Clare and I were lucky adequate to see a preview pair of shoes that held a lot of promise. As Feetz created for the commence of its initially commercially-on the market shoes with the Feetz 100, a sample pair landed on my doorstep looking just as hoped: as a a fewwhat standard-looking pair of wearable-bodied shoes. As Clare showed off on her sample-dimensionsd feet, they were in addition fully functional and (gasp!) effortless. It is not that I was jealous, precisely, watching her strut her stuff in them… but I wanted my turn, too! And not so quite long afterward, I got it. I signed on for the Feetz 100, and so it was that in mid-March a pair of custom shoes created just for my feet(z) showed up.

Looking back now, it all appears quite effortless, but there were a few steps involved in the system. First, I had to scan my feet via the Feetz app. I’m not one of the iCrowd, and the Android app did have a few tiny issues when I tried to do the three scans needd for equite foot. The quite great thing of startups and tinyer businesses, yet, especially those with a pre-commence actuallyt like the Feetz 100 that are directly looking for feedback, is that they are amazingly receptive; I emailed in that I was having problems with the app, and within 30 minutes had got a response. Within of a day, a bug had been diagnosed and the app was updated — and this time it worked perfectly. The just difficulty I had and so in getting the three scans (one on equite side of the foot and one of above, all over a plain piece of 8.5″ x 11″ printing device paper) was keeping my cats out of the frame. Once I had cat-less images, I concluded the scanning efforts and filled out a short questionnaire for the Feetz 100 — tellingly, one question on it was of my current favourite pair of shoes, so the team may see what may aleager worked. Checking to see what mine were, I may see that I’ve worn them so much there was no label within anyadditional, that I took as a great sign for it being high time to invest in a new pair of casual flats!

feetz7I sent my scans and questionnaire in on February 26th, and my shoes arrived on March 11th. I mayn’t immediately wear them, yet, as on my new trip to London I had created a series of water blisters of overzealous urban walking in, apparently, the wrong shoes. I had big plans for these shoes, yet, and was looking forward to wearing them around town — both mine and the Big Apple, where I wanted to wear my 3D printed shoes to Inside 3D Printing NYC.

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Feetz: not on the market in tiny-dog dimensions, to Mr Pond’s disappointment.

A few days later, attempting them out in the world on my a fewwhat-healed feet, I wrote back to Feetz to ask a question of fit. Again, the tiny business design shined through for me here with Feetz, as I shortly thereafter ended up on a phone call with Founder and CEO Lucy Beard, who asked all the right inquiries of my shoes, my feet, my experiences, and what I in fact wanted out of my shoes. It turns out I’d gotten hold of Feetz again at a strange time, as the entire company was packing up and moving operations of Chattanooga, TN out to Silicon Valley, joining the 3D printing scene in California in hopes of finding the right environment for a tech startup in terms of ability and capital availability. Because it turned out that a few tweaks to my custom create may enhance the fit and feeling for me of my shoes, the Feetz team was eager to ensure that I had the shoes done right — for the reason what’s the point of custom shoes if they’re not precisely right?

I discovered out later that the team in fact unpacked a 3D printing device of the boxes eager to go out west and created my new shoes that night. The next day, they were at my doorstep, and included a return label so I may send back the initially pair to be recycled — with material waste so prodiscovered in today’s world, it’s beyond refreshing to see a company in fact via previously created creations to live a 2nd life through reuse. This was the same fate that met the sample pair Clare and I had seen in February, as Feetz recycles shoes for materials and/or testing as they continually work to discover the most way to run the business and create functional shoes.

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Rocking the Feetz at my friend’s birthday celebration.

I was able-bodied to wear my custom-created pair of Feetz at Inside 3D Printing NYC just a couple weeks ago, that was their initially leading walkof testing. I’d worn them around town, which include to my most friend’s birthday celebration and running errands, but New York was their big test: how may these 3D printed shoes hold up to fast-paced life in the big city? My hotel was of a mile’s walk of the Javits Convention Center, and and so there was the conference itself to walk around, followed by navigating a couple airports on my way home.

Any trip to the city can need different types of forms of transportation; walking, running, jumping (over puddles, mostly), individuals movers, sitting comfortably in different types of places (conference chairs, restaurant table-bodieds, airport bar stools, cabs/limos, airplanes), and additional: so how do Feetz fare?

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3 out of 4 pets agree: Feetz pass the test. (4th pet was napping in a sunbeam.)

Feetz shoes showcase a quite stellar insole that I’m going to use lightly hyperbolic language to describe, for the reason having arch assist in women’s flats is that out of this world. The insoles are the right kind of squish, offering assist and donate with equite step. Learning in London how susceptible my feet apparently are to nasty blistering with heavy-duty city walking, I was a little apprehensive of heavy walking in another urban center — needlessly, as it turns out. Zero blistering, on either the bottoms or backs of my shoes.

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The car company my hotel worked with turned out to be a limo company, so my Feetz and I left NYC in fashion, en route to the airport.

The heel area cradles the backs of my feet quite greatly, with a little curve that follows the shape of my foot. The toe box — that was what had been reshaped in my iterations of shoes — was much additional effortless in this design. The just surprise I had was that, as the day I wore them in NYC was a rainy one, the material utilized on the bottom of the shoes squeaks a bit when walking within on dry tile after having been out in puddles. I just got a few surprised looks squeaking through the Javits; it wasn’t a bad squeak, but was audible (and a little duck-like). To me, that was the just clear indicator that these shoes were, indeed, 3D printed; while the materials utilized have somewhat been holding up to weather and (thus far) light wear, that sound was unambiguously plastic-y. Otherwise, all was smooth in this outing; I was actually reminded that flats are the most choice for airport wear, as getting through security was somewhat speedy with pull-on shoes.

I had been excited of Feetz since we initially heard of them here at 3DPrint.com back in 2014. As additional details and plans were released, funding raised, and and so the Feetz 100 revealed, my excitement just kept assembling. Now, owning my own pair of custom shoes and understanding that Feetz is moving onward and upward (and westward!) I am unquestionably both impressed by and thrilled to see where this company can go next. We’ll somewhat be staying tuned to Feetz as Silicon Valley welcomes the latest in 3D printing and footwear, as big things are afoot* and the company keeps striding* forward, one step* at a time. In the next, Feetz can be offering additional creates for women as well as opening availability of men’s fashions. What are your yetts on 3D printed shoes? Discuss in the Feetz 3D Printed Shoes forum over at 3DPB.com.

*Puns meant.

[All photos taken by Sarah Goehrke]

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Bottoms of Feetz, with of a month of wear.

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The Gremlin does not need her own pair; she’s content to stare at and nap in mine.