Feetz custom-fit, sustainably made 3D printed shoes are to be sold through DSW stores

Feetz custom-fit, sustainably made 3D printed shoes are to be sold through DSW stores

US footwear retailer DSW Inc is to bring custom-fit shoes to the masses, using 3D printing technology to fulfil thousands of orders a month from a manufacturing facility in San Diego.

The initiative is part of a partnership with Feetz, a US-based start-up that produces custom-fit, sustainably made 3D printed shoes.

As reported on just-style earlier this year, Feetz has developed an iPhone app that scans feet to within 2mm of accuracy in less than a minute, from just three photos.

The scan gives a 3D virtual image of the foot, around which the software resizes designs to give a customised fit. The midsole, for example, is matched to the arch of the foot. 

The customer chooses from a range of upper and sole styles and colours, with the upper made using Feetz's "revolutionary" FlexKnit pattern technology, that uses 3D printers to create a textured knitted fabric. 

"We've been amazed with the demand and the positive feedback we've received from our early Feetz customers," explains Lucy Beard, the company's founder and CEO.

"Our new 3D printing manufacturing facility in San Diego, the first of its kind, will fulfil thousands of orders per month."

Simon Nankervis, chief commercial officer of DSW Inc, which operates 481 stores, adds: "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."

As part of the relationship, DSW led Feetz's Series A funding, which also included participation from existing investors Khosla Ventures and The Jump Fund. Erin Kelly, senior director of innovation at DSW, will join Uli Becker, previously CEO of Reebok and Vijit Sabnis of Khosla Ventures on the Feetz board.