New Partnership Moves Personalized Insoles to the Mainstream
Wiivv has partnered up with foot care leader Dr. Scholl’s.
I love insoles. They’re fantastic when you’ll be on your feet a lot. Years ago I worked at a medieval faire, where I was running, stage fighting, dancing on gravel lanes, and generally being active in the woods. The best discovery of my years in outdoor entertainment was insoles, and most of the ones I bought were Dr. Scholl’s. I kept up the insole habit well after my faire days, and it’s served me well in conference halls and new city streets travelling the world for 3D printing.
I threw out my off-the-rack Dr. Scholl’s a few years ago when I had the chance to check out insoles made just for me. Wiivv, which creates custom insoles using a simple smartphone 3D scan and 3D printing, made me a pair. The first time I wore them out was on a trip to Belgium wearing my favorite tall black boots that had left me with many a blister on previous international trips with a lot of walking. No new blisters, and I was sold. (I’ve since also gotten a pair of Wiivv’s custom 3D printed sandals, which likewise delivered on the promise of custom comfort. Full disclosure, both were provided for media review.)
The insoles (and sandals) have held up to regular wear. It’s anecdotal, sure, but I’ve logged many a mile in both. I don’t like to bring my work with me on vacation, but both insoles and sandals come along for the trip even on personal travel.
So I’m always surprised that more people haven’t heard of them. They deliver, the price point is fair for the quality, and insoles are pretty big business. 3D scanning and 3D printing are a great fit in footwear.
While a lot of big names have gotten into the 3D printing game for advanced footwear and it’s becoming much more widespread throughout our industry, incorporating new production methods is still fairly experimental on a larger scale. For years, footwear has been seen as an application with significant potential adoption, but high-tech footwear production is still pretty niche.
That may be about to change, though.
Today at CES, Wiivv announced its new partnership. Dr. Scholl’s longstanding reputation as a top foot care provider is taking a step forward with Wiivv Fit Technology. The 112-year-old brand is stepping into 2019 with personalization, introducing Custom 3D Inserts.
“What we pioneered at Wiivv is helping Dr. Scholl’s scale its custom business and meet the needs of consumers who are beginning to understand the benefits of custom for the body. We are a technology company, but we exist to add active and meaningful years to your life by making custom products one at a time, so that you can move, feel, and live your best,” said Wiivv Co-Founder and CEO Shamil Hargovan. “It’s an honor to partner with Dr. Scholl’s and we’re thrilled to be moving on-demand retail and manufacturing in America forward.”
On-demand is part of the future of consumer products as advanced manufacturing enables more agility. This partnership features a new app with Wiivv’s technology, as the Apple- and Android-friendly Dr. Scholl’s Custom 3D Inserts app maps out 400 points on each user’s feet with a few phone photos. Assuming it’s comparable to the standard Wiivv app, the process will take about five minutes.
Users select their preferences -- full-length or three-quarter length; style; name -- and can order from the app. Custom 3D Inserts are priced at $99, with free shipping, and will arrive within two weeks of ordering.
“Dr. Scholl‘s understands the importance of customization for a growing number of consumers. This new offering enables us to make inserts to the exact specifications of our customers‘ feet, with just the right support in just the right places,” said Claudia F. Metcalf, U.S. Marketing Director, Dr. Scholl’s. “Using Wiivv Fit Technology, we are bringing a custom 3D experience to the reliable, comfortable inserts Dr. Scholl’s is known for. This is a breakthrough in premium personalization with the ability to shop from home.”
That the debut is happening at CES is also notable. This week we’ve heard of new 3D printing materials, a new 3D printer, and, most intriguing, new consumer 3D printed products. The tech show is highlighting applications for 3D printing in 2019 -- and in addition to getting hands-on, consumers can now more easily get feet-on with the technology. Wiivv and Dr. Scholl’s first met at CES, so the show is also a nice celebration of the partnership.
Partnering with a major brand familiar to consumers is a big move in helping to get 3D printing more into the mainstream. Carbon, for example, significantly raised its profile in popular media when its partnership with adidas hit the wire. Now with Wiivv signing on with Dr. Scholl’s, 3D printed footwear sees another major stride in gaining mainstream acceptance.