Acknowledging that everyone has different needs when it comes to comfortable feet, a Ferndale manufacturer is stepping into the custom insole market.
Earlier this summer, Superfeet introduced its ME3D insoles, a personalized product using a 3-dimensional foot scanning machine. The company introduced its FitStation in June at Fairhaven Runners & Walkers, and plans to have 10 more stations in stores that sell running shoes across the U.S. by early August. Customers can use the machines to figure out how their feet interact with the ground. The data gathered will be used to design a personalized insole, which will be shipped to the customer in about two weeks, all for $150.
The 3D printing of the insoles is currently being done off-site, but the company plans to starting making the custom insoles in the Ferndale facilty early next year.
“ME3D is just the beginning of a major shift in how consumers will experience shape and fit,” said Eric Hayes, chief marketing officer at Superfeet, adding it’s the first of many individualized products the company plans to offer, including personalized shoes. Earlier this year Superfeet announced production of its shoes for men and women.
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The response to the machine has been great, said Steve Roguski, owner of Fairhaven Runners. Since late June about 300 people went through the process, which Roguski said takes a few minutes.
Roguski said what Superfeet is doing is bound to be disruptive not only in how footwear is sold but how shoes will be made going forward. By the end of the year, he expects to be able to sell custom-made shoes to customers made by Superfeet.
“This is all quite groundbreaking, both for a local company like Superfeet and for small brick-and-mortar retail like Fairhaven Runners & Walkers,” Roguski said, noting that it gives his store a chance to further differentiate itself from internet businesses. “We are on the forefront of combining the best of machine data and human data in retail for the best of possible outcomes for our customers.”
Superfeet is employee-owned and regularly recognized as a great place to work – it made Outside Magazine's 2015 best places to work list. The company has 75 employees in Ferndale and about 130 when you count the sales representatives it has in Canada and the United Kingdom. The company moved into its 50,000-square-foot facility at 1820 Scout Place in March 2011.