Custom 3D Printed OESH Sandals are a great example of how 3D printing can be used to easily manufacture custom products to address unique needs.
If you have ever visited the OESH factory in Charlottesville, VA, you may have noticed a sign for custom sandals. Our Artemis and Athena Sandals are usually 3D printed and strapped for a specific customer. Even though everyone’s feet are a little bit different, the vast majority of OESHers fit into one of our standard sizes. There are certain special cases, however, where we will make a truly custom 3D printed pair.
Most recently, we made a custom pair of Artemis sandals with one sole thicker than the other for an OESHer with slightly different leg lengths . Leg Length Discrepancy (LLD) can make walking very uncomfortable, but luckily there are several options for correcting it. One way of correcting LLD is with a lift, an orthotic insert that raises up the shorter leg, but this only works with closed shoes, like sneakers. Special orthopedic shoes can also be made, but they are usually expensive and (in some people’s opinion) unattractive.
With 3D printing, we are able to make Artemis or Athena Sandals with a sole height difference in a cute style and any color you would like! A couple of millimeters difference in the length of your legs is no reason not to wear cute sandals in the summer.
Although custom 3D printed sandals look almost identical to our standard sizes, the process for making the soles looks quite different.
How we make custom 3D printed sandals:
First, we make a new 3D model of the soles on the computer in the right size and with the specific sole height difference. If we’re making other modifications to the shape and size of the sole, the computer model is also where we can change the geometry of the soles for a perfect fit.
Next, for soles with different heights, we have to write two different programs for the 3D printer. Usually the 3D printers make a pair of soles at once; However, when the sole heights are different, we print the two soles separately, each with a unique g-code program.
After both soles are printed, we rivet on the straps. The straps can be a standard size, or we can create a custom program for the laser cutter to cut larger or smaller straps in any of a wide range of colors.
Here at OESH, we are always happy to do what we can to help our OESHers, and to make the best use of the technology we are developing. We are especially grateful that our 3D printer development is sponsored in part by a National Science Foundation NSF SBIR grant. With the help of the NSF we are able to be constantly improving our custom 3D printing process, to make the best, healthiest, most innovative shoes we can.
If custom sandals are something that you need, email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
This article was revised from a post originally published April 2017