Tessa’s Weekly Picks – 3D Printed Insoles – Part 2


Tessa Blokland  


How can a thin 3D printed insole help you reducing fatigue? I can imagine that in times of Covid-19 frontline ICU staff members would more than happy for all suggestions and help to increase the well-being of their feet. That is exactly what Quant-U by Innovation Lab ECCO did. The company donated 100 pairs of Quant-U customized shoes with 3D printed insoles which they hoped will contribute to the well-being of the medical staff during these challenging times. Customized 3D printed insoles can improve comfort and relief to the wearer, and it gives the extra support where needed. Following up on my previous blog post on 3D printed insoles, I was again curious about 3D printed insoles. Let’s see what is new!

What you see here is a 3D printed insole, the result of a collaboration between 3D printer manufacturer HP, sports footwear and apparel brand New Balance, and insole and footwear manufacturer Superfeet. It is a very nice example of how three specialized companies joined forces to bring a top-notch consumer product to market.

The custom 3D printed insole (you can have your name imprinted) you see here comes from Dr. Scholl’s, a 100+-year old shoe brand, partnering with Wiivv. Thanks to its technology, Dr. Scholl’s, already famous for its insoles, can now offer custom 3D printed insoles. Customers can use a simple smartphone app to personalize their own insoles, which is cheaper and easier than going to a pedorthist.

This 3D printed sole is created with a SOLE Podoprinter. According to the website, the 3D printer is built to provide 100% automated production of an insole, meaning that the customer can directly wear it from the 3D printer. If so, insole retailers will turn into manufacturers and can benefit from reduced lead time, reduced stock-keeping costs of cast/foam materials, and optimize production at distributed locations, saving on labor and shipping costs, meaning more time to spend with clients, resulting in more sales.

German chemical company Covestro uses its TPU material for 3D printed orthopedic insoles for shoes, as you can see here on the photo. According to Patrick Rosso, Head of Additive Manufacturing at Covestro, thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) is the right material for insoles because of its wide range of hardness. The hardness can be adjusted by changing the printing structure, which allows manufacturers to 3D print shoe insoles that are completely custom-made—with hard or soft contact areas.

I am closing this blog post with the 3D printed insoles of ECCO. In the introduction of this blog post, I mentioned their contribution to the medical staff of a Dutch hospital. Here you see how the 3D-printable liquid silicone rubber insole looks like. Quite comfy, don’t you think?

LEO Lane_Weekly Pick_3D Printed Insoles_Part 2

Each of Tessa’s weekly picks is a curated group of 3D printed designs, based on the week’s chosen theme. If you would like to offer a theme for Tessa, or if you have your 3D printed weekly picks you would like to see featured, please let us know by commenting below. Subscribe to the newsletter to get the latest weekly picks every week in your mailbox.


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