Retail chain DSW Inc. is dipping its toe into the world of 3D printing via a new partnership with footwear startup Feetz.
San Diego-based Feetz, which produces customized 3D-printed shoes, recently closed its Series A round of fundraising and secured DSW as its lead backer, along with existing investors Khosla Ventures and The Jump Fund.
While the companies declined to disclose the amount of DSW’s investment, they said they are exploring ways to leverage their dual strengths.
“DSW is excited at the possibility of bringing Feetz’s innovative technology to our customers,” Simon Nankervis, chief commercial officer of DSW Inc., said in a statement. “The Feetz model will allow our customers to purchase true custom fit shoes at a fraction of what traditional bespoke shoes cost. We believe that giving customers the ability to purchase on-demand, affordable, custom fit shoes has the potential to disrupt the footwear market as we know it today.”
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Feetz was founded in 2013 by Lucy Beard, who spent years developing a 3D printing technology that can analyze photos of a person’s foot and produce a customized shoe model within hours. The first 100 pairs shipped to consumers this past February.
Currently, shoppers who visit the Feetz website can choose from two women’s styles — the BFF and the Gemini — which retail for $199. Both feature a basic black mesh upper, but the shoes can be personalized with different colored outsoles. A men’s style is set to launch later this summer.
Armed with this latest infusion of capital, Feetz said it aims to ramp up sales and production. To fulfill demand, it has opened a sustainable manufacturing plant in San Diego.
“We view our partnership with DSW as a huge way to increase our footprint, along with launching our mens shoe later this summer,” Beard told FN.