Custom orthotics are just one killer app for consumer and medical additive manufacturing (AM), with SmarTech Analysis projecting it as part of a segment that will reach nearly $1 billion in revenues by 2030 in its “Medical Devices 2021: Market Opportunities for 3D Prosthetics, Orthotics and Audiology Devices” report. Demonstrating the traction that the sector is getting is Fit My Feet. The company has recently partnered with Leisure Care to provide custom 3D printed insoles to all of the employees of the assisted living leader.
Fit My Feet began as Wiiv Wearables with seed funding that led to an extremely successful crowdfunding campaign. It since evolved into a leading manufacturer of custom insoles. By using the FitMyFoot smartphone app, customers are able to quickly scan their feet and order their very own pair of 3D printed, personally tailored orthotics, delivered within two weeks.
Through its partnership with Leisure Care, the company is furthering its influence in the business-to-business space. Leisure Care, owned by the One Eighty hospitality company, describes itself as “one of the [USA’s] largest privately held retirement and assisted living companies.” The company is now providing each of its roughly 3,000 staff members with 3D printed insoles, potentially offering relief from foot pain to workers who are on their feet regularly attending to the needs of seniors.
“When we met with the good folks at Fit My Feet, we knew we had a great opportunity to help our team,” said Dan Madsen, CEO of Leisure Care. “Our staff spend a great deal of time on their feet, providing care for those entrusted to us. Providing them with a way to feel more comfortable through Fit My Foot’s technology was an easy decision for us and comments from our team is that the custom-built inserts are a huge hit.”
“Our extensive research has shown that those with proper, well-fitted insoles had a dramatically lower rate of discomfort and injury related to long periods of standing,” said Colin Lawson. “We are extremely excited about providing each Leisure Care employee with a custom-designed insole made possible by our proprietary 3D printing technology. We applaud Leisure Care for making this possible for its 3000 employees.
The new partnership is part of a larger growth stage for Fit My Feet, which has included a number of important achievements, such as selling its products in stories like The Color Run, wholesale supplying to practitioners, and collaborating with Blueprint Sports for college athlete name-image-likeness usage. In the meantime, the company is in conversations with Fortune 500 and multinational retailers.
Insoles are an ideal entry point into custom 3D printed consumer goods due to the fact that they are comparatively simple, but can yield high value in terms of fit, comfort, and treatment/prevention of physical ailments. In turn, they can demonstrate the value-add that custom 3D printed items bring to a given sector. This has already been showcased in hearing aids and clear dental aligners, so orthotics are often seen as a follow-on product in the medical category to get the 3D printed boost.
While there was previously a great deal of interest in such a product, that interest has waned to some extent, perhaps leaving room for less successful startups, like Sols, to fade while more robust ones prosper. Therefore, we’re still waiting for the market for 3D printed insoles to take off. Because 3D printing service bureau Materialise acquired one of the other leading providers of 3D printed orthotics, RSscan, in 2020, we presume that development related to the technology and business model is still occurring, with much of it behind the scenes.
All images courtesy of Fit My Feet.