New technology is being used more and more also in the classic shoe sphere, that’s nothing new. Now the next step in this development is taken, with the (at least to my knowledge) first brand to offer a form of bespoke based service with a 3D scanning that customer makes of their feet with the help of their mobile phone. The brand is called MADE and the shoes are made in China, including test shoes they cost no more than about €335 ($380) with the Early Bird offer now available via Kickstarter.
I have previously written about, for example, the Finnish brand The Left Shoe Company for the style site Manolo, which use a 3D scanner to find the right last shape, size and width among their lasts, and on the Swedish blog about the Swedish project Broken Bird Boot Maker that makes a 3D model in the computer of one’s feet using a 3D scanner and then make a personal last on the basis of that, which the shoes are then made on. Both of these brands shoes are then Goodyear welted in Portugal.
MADE offers something like Broken Bird, but also differ on several points. The company launched its Kickstarter campaign a couple of weeks ago, and have almost reached up to the minimum target for production to be carried out, but still several parts of the offer remaining. Behind MADE is Sung Lee, James Won and Hao Lan. They have invested in their own factory in China, which reveals that they have quite high ambitions.
The process for an order is that you first get sen a special kind of sock sent hoe and download an app to your smartphone (available for iOS and Android), and then with a little the help of a friend you take photos of the feet according to the instructions in the app. A 3D image of the foot is created, and which then the measurements are taken out on, plus MADE has a model of one’s feet to see its properties. Then a last maker modify their existing lasts and do a personal last for each client, a couple of simple test shoes are produced and sent out to the customer for testing, after feedback and any adjustments are made they produce the finished shoes. There are a number of different models to choose from, and two different ttoe shapes, different colors on the uppers and soles, etc., so there are some choices that can be made. The shoes are made with hand welting and a handmade sole stitch, with leather from the Italian tannery Conceria Incas. They use a celastic heel counter, which in my eyes is a bit of a pity, I would have preferred heel stiffeners in leather board and maybe instead a machine made sole stich, in order to remain the same or even cheaper production cost.
The first 100 early bird shoppers on Kickstarter pay about €335 ($ 380) for the whole package above, including shipping of the scanning socks, test shoes and finished shoes, which is undeniably a very low price in terms of what is included. There are about half of those offers remaining at present, and then there is another step that goes to €380 ($ 430), plus a few where you can buy more pairs and get a discount. Regular price then estimated to be around €490 ($ 550). Once you’ve ordered a pair your data is saved and the same last will be used when you order new shoes.
Such a solution is of course something else than traditional bespoke, and it’s difficult to say how well it works or the quality of the shoes without having tried it myself or heard several participants experience. But the fact that they have a last maker and the use of test shoes makes the probability of receiving a quite good fit relatively high, perhaps especially interesting for those who would otherwise have difficulty finding RTW-shoes that fit well and don’t want to pay the high price of regular full bespoke. And the low price and the fact that the order can be placed and managed completely remotely makes it very accessible.