Skip to main content

Why Footwear Brand Wiivv Strips Customization Down to the Bare Essentials

Customization doesn’t start and end with monogramming or color selection. Customization can also improve the day-to-day wear experience of footwear consumers.

That’s why Wiivv, a consumer technology company that creates custom footwear, apparel and wearables using body-perfect capture technology, accessible by everyone with a smartphone, is in the business of functional customization.

The company started with custom fit 3-D printed insoles and in June launched its first custom fit sandal. The shoe, which retails for $129, boasts a custom 3-D printed arch support, a custom placed toe thong and adjustable straps.

“We basically see customers either seeking relief, wellness or performance,” Shamil Hargovan, Wiivv co-founder, said. “Custom, to us, means anatomy, movement, preference, feedback and aesthetics. We think it’s those five things combined.”

Hargovan says there’s a generational element to the rise of customization in footwear, adding that more and more evidence suggests that millennials and Gen Z consumers are expecting custom-made products tailored to their needs.

However, as Hargovan and Wiivv senior engineer Chris Bellamy explained at FMNII’s Footwear Innovation Summit in Los Angeles, there’s a tight framework for brands to work within in order to make customization affordable, accessible and appealing to the end user.

Customization meets localization

By 2020, Wiivv aims to make 1 million unique products, or what Bellamy likens to mass customization.

Fundamentally, Hargovan said Wiivv is a customization technology company and its goal is to work with people from across the value chain to help scale customization. However, he said driving down costs associated with custom products will be key to scaling customization.

Related Stories

To start, Bellamy says companies need to embrace local manufacturing. Fifty percent of the cost of Wiivv’s international orders is associated with shipping, and to solve this, Bellamy said he’d like to see customized products for the United States made in the United States, for China in China and so forth.

The way Wiivv is turning this manufacturing process into a reality is by packaging its technology into pre-fabricated factories that can be replicated around the world.

“We can package the system in a shipping container and ship it anywhere in the world for less than $200,000,” he said.

Keep it simple

When Wiivv set out to develop how it would capture data from consumers, the company took a mobile first approach. “We’ve got incredible technology available in your pocket,” Hargovan said.

Wiivv broke the data collection process down into two basic steps: The consumer takes a photo of the top of their foot and the side of their foot. The process collects the right amount of data with the minimum effort possible.

“You can capture it from the comfort of your own home; you don’t have to go to a kiosk,” Bellamy said. “You don’t have to expose your feet, and you can do all from your privacy. That is what makes its appeal.”

And what Wiivv has found is that in terms of data, less is more. The company interprets the two images and converts it into a 3-D model of the foot, and, in turn, converts it into a 3-D custom product.

“People always ask us if this is enough because you can capture 15,000 points from a 3-D scan, but this is more than enough,” Bellamy said. “We’ve actually found that two-dimensional interpretations deliver better results than if we receive a 3-D scan.”