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Vivobarefoot unveils VivoBiome: a 3D-printed journey back to custom-made shoes

Once upon a time, tailors sewed clothes for a specific person's body, and cobblers constructed shoes to fit their exact feet. A UK-based footwear brand wants to bring that practice back to life. Vivobarefoot, a barefoot shoe pioneer, has developed VivoBiome — 'a radical scan-to-print circular bare-footwear system.'

Like Vivobarefoot's other designs, the footwear will have a wide toebox and thin, flexible sole. Unlike its existing offering, each pair will be made to order based on precise scans of a customer's feet, which are then sent to 3D printers for local fabrication. VivoBiome will kick off with a hub in the UK, with Germany and the US to follow. Local manufacturing reduces shipping, while 3D printing cuts down on waste.

Aiming to create a fully circular model, Vivobarefoot also designed VivoBiome shoes to be remade. Customers can return their worn-out pairs; outsoles will be mechanically recycled and the knitted uppers chemically recycled, with plans to refine that process as the project evolves. Those materials will then be used to manufacture new shoes. VivoBiome is set to launch a testing phase soon, with a commercial roll-out planned for 2024.

Trend Bite

Consumers crave a tailored experience. And it doesn't get much more personalized than shoes that fit like a glove because they're based on a 3D print of one's own foot. They also increasingly expect tangible commitments to sustainability. For footwear, the need for more eco-aware practices is acute — an estimated 22 billion pairs of shoes go to landfills every year.

With VivoBiome, Vivobarefoot places itself at the intersection of customization and environmentally responsible practices. For which products or services could your brand generate a similar sweet spot?