Thanks to digital and new technologies, companies can offer their clients increasingly customised products. Feetz, a San Diego-based startup, has taken this one step further with custom shoes, made with 3D printing. The New York Times took a look at this innovative startup whose slogan is “Step into a footwear revolution.”
In Feetz’ workshops, there are no manual workers but over a hundred 3D printers that can make a pair of shoes in twelve hours. Using the app downloaded from the brand’s website, customers can choose and customise a model in just minutes by taking and sending photos of their feet with their smartphone.
FROM CONSUMER TO MANUFACTURER IN ONE CLICK
Once this information is received, Feetz’ fifteen employees start making the shoes. With prices starting at $199, the shoes are made of recycled materials, thus producing a much lower carbon footprint than conventionally-manufactured footwear.
Feetz has launched a revolutionary way of ordering, manufacturing and selling products. With over 1,000 customers in the US, the company, which was founded in 2013, raised $1.5 million last year. According to Uli Becker, the former chief executive of Reebok and an investor in Feetz, this is just the beginning: “In the future, we’ll go into showrooms, select what we want and then order online or print out the product ourselves,” he said.
This new customer experience meets a growing demand from consumers for “mass customisation,” as Feetz’ founder Lucy Beard puts it. A number of other brands have been getting in on the trend, such as Nike, New Balance and Amazon: last year, the e-commerce giant purchased startup ShoeFitr and is starting to develop 3D printing to help customers find shoes that fit properly.
RETHINKING THE SUPPLY chaIN
According to Uli Becker, 3D printing has phenomenal potential. “Production facilities can be in the same place where you sell products, which creates jobs,” he said to the New York Times. Vijit Sabnis, who has also invested in Feetz, added: “We’ll get rid of shipping costs and rethink the supply chain.”
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