Launching with $3.5 million in funding from Khosla Ventures and Shopify founder Tobias Lutke, Casca is taking a new approach to the footwear supply chain—designed from the ground up to support mass-produced, 3D-printed recyclable insoles customized to the exact specifications of each consumer’s foot.
Casca’s leather-upper Avro ($198) and Avro Knit ($178) styles are available through the brand’s website and its flagship store in Vancouver Canada as of Nov. 13.
Both feature Casca’s patented orthotic footbed system, dubbed “FootB3D,” created via 3D printing to fit based on measurements of the wearer’s foot. The human foot is “more unique than a fingerprint,” said Casca co-founder Kevin Reid, who previously worked for Adidas, New Balance and Vans.
“Not only can we provide unique support to their left and right foot, we can also manipulate the fit of the shoe,” Reid told Sourcing Journal. “We can build the insole slightly higher to reduce the amount of girth and space inside of the shoe cavity. From what I’ve seen on the market, that is the first step towards customizing mass-produced footwear.”
Casca’s in-house system maps 10,000 data points related to foot shape. Consumers visiting the Vancouver store or using the Casca app can scan their feet with a sophisticated scanning system designed “to eliminate as many pain points as possible.” The app creates a foot map using just three photos and Casca products are delivered direct to consumer within two weeks.
To build this system, Reid recruited experts from the tech sector, including one savant previously with Tesla and Carbon 3D, and kept a laser focus on the consumer experience by creating the “ultimate, high-performance everyday shoe.”
Beyond the FootB3D orthotic system, the Avro and Avro Knit are launching with mountaineering-grade rubber and “some of the most advanced foam compounds.”
“For the last two and a half years, we’ve been focused on creating this high-performance everyday shoe,” Reid explained. “We felt there are sportswear brands that are innovating for sports products. There are lots of casual brands that are doing these hybrid technical products. But we really felt there wasn’t that true engineering approach to that everyday shoe.”
The price point for Casca’s personalized shoes is possible through the direct-to-consumer model, Reid said, adding that wholesale markups would make the product inaccessible to most.
“If we were to go the traditional wholesale route, we would be selling a $500 to $600 product,” Reid explained. “There’s a lot of direct-to-consumer brands that have focused on that $100 price point and slightly cheaper. We felt like this is a massive shift in the way sales work in the industry and that we can do a high-quality version of that.”
For now, Casca is making its shoes in China.
“There’s obviously still a stigma for made-in-China products,” Reid said, acknowledging the threat of tariffs is likely to affect any brand that manufactures in the country. “But I’ve been working there for about 10 years now. I’ve made shoes in Portugal and Italy. The first generation of shoemakers in Italy and Portugal have all retired and it’s the second generation now. In China, it’s mostly that first generation still. Most of the people in our factory are around 55 and super skilled, so that was huge, and the access you have to technology in China is second to none.”
Casca could diversify its supply chain down the road but its goal is decentralization, enabling localized production anywhere where its products are wanted. The Vancouver location will serve as a staging ground for creating on-demand, customized footwear without shipping anything internationally.
Casca has already been increasing its volume of 3D-printed footwear, hoping eliminate traditional production methods by 2029. For now, though, the prototypes resemble a “glorified Croc,” Reid said.
“We have all the technology now to print it from the top to the bottom. But there’s some work to be done with materials,” Reid said. “Our plan over the next few years is to transfer to completely digital, custom-manufactured products for every person.”