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Made-to-fit 3D printed shoes best of Virgin Media's 'Three New Things'



Made-to-measure-3D printed soles for shoes, solar charging stands for the developing world and 3D-printable plastic satellites were unveiled last night as the 'Three New Things', in Virgin Media Business search for innovated technological start-ups to change lives for good.

The most popular of them all, Three over Seven with its 'on-demand shoes' was named overall winner during an event at the British Film Museum and were awarded the opportunity to meet with veteran entrepreneur Richard Branson and receive mentoring from the Virgin Media Business management team as well as 25,000 pounds of business telecoms to take their company to the next level.

"When cutting edge technology meets imagination, the results can be spectacular. Reading these entries has been an inspiring process and has unearthed some genuine game-changers with the power to change lives around the world," commented Peter Kelly, managing director of Virgin Media Business.

Three Over Seven was founded by New Zealand brothers Tim and Paul Brown, who successfully launched their project 'Wool Runners' on Kickstarter for the world's first woollen patent pending running shoe to be worn sock-less. Now the duo have taken retail footwear innovation a step further to allow consumers to order custom made footwear from their mobile phones.

Custom made footwear to arrive at our doors sooner than we think

The footwear team are working on a concept that would allow customers to scan their feet using their mobile phones. The scan would then be used as a 3D model to print a perfect fitting pair of shoes, which would be an exact fit of the consumers feet. A day after the scan is sent in, customers are set to receive their customized footwear made with Three Over Seven patent-pending woollen fabric and their 3D printed rubber sole.


type of manufacturing has been discussed and debated for a number of years, but this is the first time that it such a custom-fit shoe will be made widely available to the public. "The great thing about this competition is that it allows fantastic ideas to shine, whatever stage of development they are at. It's so important that budding entrepreneurs are given every opportunity to grow be that by shining a light on their ideas, providing mentoring and support, as well as formal investment," commented Emily Memarzia, a digital consultant for the IC tomorrow programme and part of the judging panel.

According to recent research published by Euromonitor International, footwear was one of the main sectors of growth in 2013, increasing by 6.1 percent. Overall, the international footwear market has been routinely surpassing global apparel sales over the past ten years, with women's footwear driving the growth as the shoe becomes more and more of an fashion statement added Euromonitor.

With online shoes sales growing at a rate of 16 percent a year and the majority of shoppers preferring a more casual look to their athletic shoes rather than a performance look, as a study by Mintel found, by manufacturing 'on demand' footwear retailers only make what is ordered and are able to keep up with the ever changing needs of the modern consumer, without worrying about production volumes.

"As the UK gears up for growth again, this is exactly the kind of creativity and entrepreneurialism that we need to nurture in this country - from Government schemes to community networks: we all have a part to play in supporting UK innovation. We can't wait to get started with the winning teams and help them to shape our future," added Kelly.

Photos: The finalists of 'Three New Things,' Three Over Seven products

Euromonitor International
Three New Things
Three Over Seven
Virgin Media Business
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