Can Mass Customization Kill Mass Production?
Isaac Maw posted on December 01, 2017 |
Personalized insoles from Brooks made using 3D scanning technology.
Recently HP’s MultiJet Fusion printers to build custom insoles. Now, Superfeet has announced its first shoe brand partnership with Brooks, which could signal the beginning of true mass customization.

Together with Superfeet’s FitStation powered by HP, Brooks will introduce a performance running shoe that’s based on an individual’s 3D foot scan, available via special order through select retail partners beginning June 2018.

Image courtesy of Brooks
Image courtesy of Brooks

“The ability to give an individual a personalized shoe based on his or her unique biomechanics is a game changer. It is a compelling offering for the runner who is interested in tip-of-the-spear technology and a totally tuned experience,” said Brooks CEO Jim Weber. He company has stated that it’s pursuing this technology because custom personalization offers a competitive edge in the performance shoe market.

The scanning system’s hardware and software combine 3D foot scanning with dynamic gait analysis and foot pressure measurements, all with the aim of identifying the unique motion path of the runner’s body.

Additive Manufacturing or Injection Molding?

DESMA polyurethane injection-molding machine, at least for this Brooks partnership.

The system uses the 3D foot scans to determine the proper lasts which the shoes are built around, ensuring each shoe is tailored to the specific shape of the runner’s foot. Then—using a combination of variable PU injection with direct attach capabilities—the foot pressure measurements and movement analysis of the runner’s joints are combined with personal preferences to create personalized midsole requirements with multiple tuned zones. All personalized footwear will be manufactured in the U.S. at Superfeet’s world headquarters in Ferndale, Wash.

Brooks will demonstrate the product on Nov. 28-30 at The Running Event in Austin, Texas, where the company will create personalized Brooks Levitate RS shoes for select attendees. The new footwear will roll out to runners in June 2018 via special order through select retail partners.

A list of participating retailers can be found on the Superfeet website.

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