New Zealand based company Three Over Seven is to utilise 3D printing to manufacture its revolutionary Wool Runners training shoes. You scan your feet using a mobile app before sending the image off to Three Over Seven who will then print your precise fitting footwear and ship it to your door, all within 24 hours.
The Wool Runners were launched on Kickstarter back in February and were a huge hit on the crowd funding site. The concept was to create a running shoe that would maximise comfort for the wearer, while sidestepping many of the most problematic issues of traditional trainers – i.e. smell, sweat and temperature.
Being Kiwis, the Three Over Seven team saw the answer to these problems in one of their country’s most widely available resources: sheep. They hit on the idea of using mid-micron sheep’s wool for the entirety of the shoe, as it is comfortable enough to be worn without a sock and works against odour. Where the synthetic material popularly used in jogger’s footwear actually traps bacteria and creates smells, the wool used in Three Over Seven’s design absorbs sweat and releases it as air.
While the interior of a Wool Runner has been designed for comfort, the exterior has been specially developed to resist dirt, so it stays clean and hygienic inside and out. Within the first four days of the Kickstarter campaign, over 1064 pairs had been ordered through the site. By the time it finished up, it had raised a grand total of $120,000 altogether.
The invention went on to win one of three awards at the Virgin Media Business Three New Things competition, being picked out of over 100 entrants.
Three Over Seven has announced that later this year it will be opening a Digital Shoe Factory in London in order to print orders for its UK customers. The company’s main man Jonathon Spanos reckons it’s the first step towards the popularisation of customisable trainers.
The key underlying theme of our work here is that custom fit footwear is currently a luxury few can afford and we think 3D printing will help make that feeling, and associated comfort, more accessible to the wider public.