As with the insoles, the sandals can be built for a precise fit through a smartphone app that digitally maps your feet. Wiivv takes the data from the app and creates the sandal arch pad with 3D printing technology.
Wiivv sells the custom sandals for as little as $95, undercutting the price of custom orthotics created by foot doctors who charge hundreds of dollars, said cofounder Louis-Victor Jadavji, in an interview with VentureBeat.
Wiivv’s insoles and sandals are the beginning of what its founders — Jadavji and Shamil Hargovan — call “body-perfect” products, or bionic devices made possible through the combination of scanners, cameras, 3D printing, and cloud computing. Using these technologies, the company creates made-to-measure pads that fit the contour of your foot’s arch, giving you biomechanical support and comfort.
“Some people have never been able to wear sandals,” Jadavji said. “Now they really can for the first time.”
“Big footwear brands still don’t grasp the fact that 14 billion unique feet need 14 billion unique solutions,” said Hargovan, Wiivv’s CEO, in a statement. “In an industry dominated by mass-produced products and offshore supply chains, we’re proud to offer one-off custom products at scale.”
The process begins with Wiivv mobile app for iOS or Android. Users follow the simple instructions to take five photos and measurements of their feet. More than 200 data points are digitally mapped and processed with computer vision software. This data is used to determine optimal strap placement and 3D-printed arch support for each specific foot. The sandals can also be personalized with various arch colors and interchangeable straps. Once production starts, customers will receive their unique and customized sandals in the mail within seven days.
The company’s first Kickstarter campaign for Base Custom Insole was a runaway success. It broke records in three different Kickstarter categories and remains the most successful 3D-printed product in crowdfunding history. Since launching commercially in January 2016, the company has completed a first round of venture funding, sold over 10,000 custom insoles, and acquired eSoles, a U.S. provider of modular customizable footbeds. That deal gave Wiivv data for over 50,000 3D foot scans.
“What we proved with the move from insole to sandal is that we can do all kinds of footwear and won’t stop here,” Jadavji said. “We consider things like running shoes. Our computer vision is so accurate now, we can do all kinds of things.”
In terms of sandals, Jadavji explained that traditional flip-flops are one-size-fits-all, and are typically a poor fit. For one thing, there’s usually no way to change the toe thong’s location, which can lead to chafing. And the soles are bad for foot biomechanics.
Wiivv says that flip-flops increase the likelihood of problems like over-pronation, toe scrunch, foot fatigue, and toe blistering and that two in three flip-flop wearers are dissatisfied with the comfort of their sandals.
Foot, ankle, and calf soreness are most likely a result of the foot over-pronation and lack of support, which typically results from walking around in footwear with little to no arch support, cushioning, or heel cupping.
Wiivv’s sandals provide custom arch support through pads that Wiivv slides into the sides of its sandals. The bio-engineered toe grips give metatarsal support, and the sandals have deep heel cups to stabilize and absorb shock. The straps can be customized and swapped out based on your fashion tastes. And they are recyclable. You can adjust the toe-thong placement to any of five different positions.
“We get a custom measurement, slide it into the arch, and then laminate it on top,” Jadavji said.
Wiivv’s headquarters is in Vancouver, and the company has a manufacturing research and development center in San Diego, Calif. Overall, Wiivv has 30 employees, including experts in computer engineering, mechatronics, and biomechanics.
Early bird pricing on the Kickstarter campaign is $59. Orders placed on the company’s website will cost $79, and the sandals will retail for $95.
In November, the company launched full-length insoles, which now make up 80 percent of sales.
Jadavji and Hargovan started their company in the summer of 2014 and have raised $10 million to date.