3D Printing Will Fix the Way We Order Shoe Sizes

Tuesday, 23 August 2022 06:08 Written by

The process of trying on shoes is never a case of one-size-fits-all. Footwear currently comes in structured sizing and three widths: narrow, medium and wide. For most consumers, finding a size range that fits is what’s typically done. But when we look at foot sizing, there are many variations and nuances to getting the right fit. That’s where SOLS comes in. SOLS, a startup based in New York, that specializes in creating personalized 3D-printed corrective insoles for footwear.

Insole height, width, length and the general topography of the foot aren’t often accounted for in the footwear designs bought to the market today. Without properly taking into account the unique quality of each wearer’s foot, poor, improper fit is often the outcome.

Having successfully completed their mission to make the best orthotics on the market, SOLS seeks to create custom-built shoes—or, in this case, 3D-printed—footwear as well. And they’re going to do that with $11.1 million in Serie B funding they’ve recently received.

“SOLS enables the personalization of everyday wearables. Our first product, SOLS dynamic insoles are one of the world’s first applications of 3D printing introduced to the consumer market,” says founder Kegan Schouwenburg. “The new infusion of capital will be used to prepare for SOLS’ direct to consumer launch and further develop its robust portfolio of products that focus on smart technology and responsive real-time products.”

The way their new 3D-printing process works starts with the consumer taking photos of each of their feet from three different angles, the company then models them digitally.  The company will then print those shoes to match the consumer’s foot. It will function in the same way its current insole technology does.

The company has recently unveiled Adaptiv, a 3D-printed prototype shoe that can be customized and finished in multiple materials.

SOLS is now working with EOS, a German 3D printing firm, to build a large-scale printing factory in Temple, Texas that will be able to produce all of it’s products in the near future. The ultimate goals is to let consumers factory to send their orders via their smartphones to the factory and have with whatever features they’ve chosen. Materials could easily move beyond plastic as well, SOLS hopes to produce outsoles made of leather or even offer mood-sensing color-changing LED lights.

“This is a pivotal time for SOLS as we aim to bring our mass customized 3D printed footwear direct to the consumer,” said Schouwenburg.

As 3D printing continues to disrupt the manufacturing industry, it’s companies like SOLS that will clearly come out as leaders in apparel production space with smart design and limited-to-no-waste models of production.