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MM: 3D-Printing Custom Shoes

In this Manufacturing Minute episode, HP introduces FitStation, which officials call the first end-to-end solution for customized footwear.

Advances in 3D printing technology could have profound effects throughout manufacturing, but perhaps no industry stands to change as much as the clothing and apparel sector.

Footwear companies, in particular, are already producing 3D-printed shoes in hopes of capitalizing on demand for increased customization, and HP wants to make that process significantly easier.

The California tech company last month introduced FitStation, which officials called the first end-to-end solution for customized footwear.

FitStation includes a platform that produces a 3D scan of each foot, along with sensors to analyze foot pressure points and provide gait analysis.

Customers who go through the analysis will receive a recommendation for an off-the-shelf shoe or insole, or they could chose to order an insole or shoe that will be 3D-printed to their exact measurements.

HP also said that the system could revolutionize footwear supply chains by enabling local, on-demand manufacturing and effectively eliminating returns.

The company partnered with insole maker Superfeet to pilot-test the system in some 4,000 retail locations.

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