3D Printed FootwearAM in the time of COVID-19Mass Customization

Quant-U donates custom 3D printed shoes to Dutch hospital workers

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Quant-U, a 3D footwear customization service launched by Danish shoes company ECCO in collaboration with Dow, has stepped up to play a small but meaningful role in the fight against COVID-19. According to the company, it has donated 100 pairs of customized shoes to frontline ICU medical staff at OLVG hospitals in Amsterdam. The company’s gesture will help provide some much needed comfort to the strained and undoubtedly tired medical staff and showcases that there are many ways people and companies can play a role in helping essential workers.

Quant-U was launched as an experimental shoe customization project by ECCO’s Innovation Lab (ILE). The project has picked up steam in the past year: in April 2019 for instance, a pop-up shop in Paris demonstrated to the public the potential to customize footwear with 3D printing and liquid silicone rubber.

ECCO Quant-U donated shoes

Quant-U’s shoes are customized using biomechanical data gathered from the wearer and 3D printed midsoles made from SILASTIC 3D 3335 Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR), a material developed by chemical company Dow. The entire process is designed for retail experience: customers can go into a shop, have their data captured, and receive their custom shoes within an hour.

The LSR material and 3D printed structure of the midsoles are designed to provide comfort and breathability: two factors which are important in a normal context but become critical for those who are on their feet for hours at a time, like medical workers. Combined with a custom structure for foot support, the Quant-U shoes are built for the wearer’s optimal comfort—while still maintaining style.

ECCO Quant-U donated shoes

“FrontIine ICU staff is under immense physical and mental pressure to treat patients,” Quant-U said of its footwear donation. “We can’t join directly, but we can help. Continuing with our pilot project Quant-U with OLVG hospitals in Amsterdam focused on Digital Healthcare via Connected Footwear for fatigue reduction, we have donated 100 pairs of Quant-U customized shoes which we hope will contribute to the well-being of our valued heroes during these challenging times. One step at a time, we will get through this.”

To learn more and participate in the AM industry’s fight against COVID-19, check out our dedicated forum.

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Tess Boissonneault

Tess Boissonneault is a Montreal-based content writer and editor with five years of experience covering the additive manufacturing world. She has a particular interest in amplifying the voices of women working within the industry and is an avid follower of the ever-evolving AM sector. Tess holds a master's degree in Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam.

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