How Important Is The Perfect Shoe?

from the if-the-shoe-fits dept

Back during the bubble years, there was a popular online shoe store called Customatix that would make you a pair of custom shoes. It eventually went away, but apparently the idea of custom shoes is coming back again — with a slightly different twist. It’s based on a laser scan of your foot in order to get the perfect fit. Going beyond just the laser scan, the system also asks people to perform certain exercises wearing a special insole to record how your foot moves. Based on all of that data a shoe is then printed, using 3D printing techniques. The initial focus is for professional soccer players, helping them avoid injury with better shoes. It certainly involves a number of technology advances, but you have to wonder how big a market there is for the perfect shoe. While professional athletes obviously value staying healthy quite a bit, it would seem that the average shoe wearer is fine with the “good enough” shoes they can buy off the shelf today.

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Comments on “How Important Is The Perfect Shoe?”

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Monkey Joe (user link) says:

Climbing Shoes

Now if only i could get my climbing shoes made this way. Less chance of getting a pair thats a half size to small/large that either crushes your foot or lets it slip around inside.

Problem is with most footwear is that the foot isn’t always the same static shape. What might feel comfy sitting down or walking around the 3D printed custom shoe store trying them on, might not feel to great after a few hours of walking, when your feet have swollen up to the next shoe size or two.

david rawheiser says:

oh, no! i've got happy feet!

Don’t settle for the whole
“made in china good enough” rubbish –
go for the custom comfortable shoes,
to insure happy feet.

And if you have fallen archs (aka flat feet)*,
this should also work wonders for your attitude,
and your ball room dancing ability**.

* hey, they kept me out of ‘NAM – (that and being 10 at the time).

** though, i can still only do the foxtrot,
but that’s a general coordination issue.

Helen says:

Custom fit shoes and more

For runners & other foot athletes, people that wear a 9 on one side & 9.5 on the other, or have arch issues – custom shoes would rock. Every time I go buy running shoes it takes trying on several pairs to get the right ones – and I have custom orthotics for arch support.

Think further ahead – custom fit clothes from a saved laser scan….I know Levis has tried it, maybe others – that would be great, too.

Get scanned. Go to a website & submit your scan, get a suit or something in a couple of weeks…there are already variations of this that depend on you taking exact measurements yourself at home & plugging them in a website.

to me, nice use…not mis-use.

Mousky (user link) says:

Ignorance is bliss

It would seem that you understate the value of a custom fit shoe. People who play any sport (running, jogging, basketball, tennis, etc) on a regular basis would benefit from a shoe that fits their foot like a glove. So would people (adults and children) who require special shoes to address specific foot issues (the field of orthotics).

gigatess says:

The Perfect Shoe

If only this was feasible for the ‘common’ man. There are so many people that don’t require advanced orthotics, but have the need for something better arched, lined, & made than the average shoe. Something affordable. There are oodles of people that have really sensitive feet. When your feet are miserable, it feels like the rest of your body is too!

? says:

Custom Shoes

The idea of custom shoes is very old. My Father-n-law is a Podiatrist, and frequently sends patitents who have serious foot troubles to people who will make a custom shoe for each foot, and I’m not talking about inserts either. These people will literally build a shoe from the ground up if you need it.

The computerized portion of this business is pretty new, about three years old. It is impressive technology, but not something that has seem to made it into the mainstream. It will be interesting to see how this technology fares, and whether or not people will want to plunk down the extra cash for this luxury.

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

Well, let’s face it: the shoe is just another product that hasn’t really undergone any major advancements. OK, materials etc. may have changed to allow your feet to breathe etc. and trainers have little pumps in them – but no real innovation has occured on the fit of a shoe.

If this technology becomes more mainstream than just professional footballers (!) then I think it would be great!

itchyfish says:


Dunno how many people noticed, but ‘boots’ for soccer players are cleats. Having the studs in the right place would definitely be worth money to anyone that plays a sport with cleats. Having a ‘good enough’ cleat with a stud that’s just a bit off really hurts, and most people just play through that because ‘good enough’ is all they can get.

P.H. says:

Well the opposite sex disagrees

“…it would seem that the average shoe wearer is fine with the “good enough” shoes they can buy off the shelf today.”

Hey that’s all great for you but you’re a guy. The reality is that in woman’s shoes it is totally expected that shoes that look good will kill your feet. The only “comfortable” options are ugly granny shoes! I’ve even ventured into $200 – $300 shoes & boots and you know what… those kill your feet even worse than the cheap ones! Do you know how much I’d be willing to pay for a great looking pair of high heels that were a dream to walk in?!?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Well (some of) the opposite sex disagrees

You know I hear this complaint from other girls ALL the time.

I wear heels, usually in the neighborhood of 3 inches, all day, everyday ? and they do not bother me significantly.

And I walk a significant amount, not like a nurse, but a little over 2 miles a day if my pedometer is to be believed.

I have done this job for almost 5 years now ? I don?t have back problems, I don?t have corns, or other problems that I am aware of.

I wear shoes from a variety of designers, and made of all sorts of different materials…

There are 2 tricks to this seemingly miraculous feat I pull off on a regular basis.

First, learn to walk in heels. Most girls I see, walk in heels like men in work boots. It is not attractive, and it is not comfortable.

Second, buy the right size. Most of my friends, who complain about having to wear heels, wear shoes that are half a size or a size too small for them. It might bruise your ego to think that you are not a 7 ? but admitting that you are a 10 will make your feet happy.

They are never going to be tennis shoes, but they should not hurt, and they certainly should not ?kill your feet?

Gina (user link) says:

Most Comfortable Shoes

The most comfortable shoes I’ve worn in a while are my new Keen Boston lace ups. They are a rugged design perfect for pounding New York City pavements as well as weekend hiking trips. They’re super comfortable shoes. I found them at a website that recommends only the most comfortable shoes… There’s a link here:

Most Comfortable Shoes

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