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San Diego company turns photos of feet into custom shoes

Posted at 4:58 PM, Jun 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-14 21:04:44-04

A perfectly fitting shoe is hard to find and others can take months to break in. 

But a local company is now taking smartphone photos of people's feet, and using 3-D printers to build shoes molded to their arches.

Lucy Beard founded Feetz because she could never seem to find a good shoe.

"I went shopping and I could never find a pair of shoes that fit," she said. "I went next door to Starbucks and had a cup of coffee, and went 'whoa!' I can get any kind of coffee and I can't get shoes that fit? It's time to change the world."

Now, she's selling shoes she says are flexible, durable and recyclable. She says they're made of plastic and rubber like any other shoe, but it's how they fit that really sets them apart. It's because they're molded to an individual's feet. 

A person can use their device called the dome, which measures feet, or they can use a smartphone app and send in three foot photos of different angles.

"We can get within two millimeters of accuracy with three photos," Beard said. 

The data goes into a program that builds a shoe. And a 3-D printer has it made in about eight hours.

Each pair costs $199. This week, San Diegans can try out Feetz' technology on Thursday and Friday as part of San Diego Startup Week.

Between 9 a.m. and noon on Thursday, the company will be participating in the Design Forward event at the Broadway Pier. And also from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at Quartyard, 1102 Market Street, as part of the Startup Fair. 

Right now, Feetz only sells women's shoes, but a men's line will be released in two months.

"Made locally, sold globally," Beard said. 

Feetz is also hiring. The company recently moved back to San Diego after two years in Tennessee.

"We need people who are specialists in engineers, and material science, and footwear, and there's just amazing people in San Diego, with a bigger base of talent," she said. 

It's a talent base whose feet Beard wants to get in her door.