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The New Recruit

This was the first Feetz shoe made for athletic performance.

It was designed for use in basic training for different sectors of the US military, including the Air Force and Army. This shoe would be what recruits wore when boots weren’t required, so it had to accomodate a wide range of tasks and motion.

Each contract had a detailed set of specifications outlining requirements for the shoes, many of which were specific to traditionally manufactured, mass-produced footwear.

Among these requirements were a strobel stitched upper, laces, and stress tests specific to traditional materials.

We knew 3D printing would excell in certain areas, like the requirement for different durometers within the sole and specific measurement requirements. Feetz could also offer shoes to all recruits, not just those who fit into a normal size ladder.
Version One retained the same upper as other Feetz shoes, but we found that since the Feetz upper was designed for custom fit, the laces didn’t add the adjustability needed for a performance shoe.

This requirement promted a switch in upper material, which led to Feetz introduction to sock uppers.

Sock uppers required a tub sole to hide the strobel stitching. Most Feetz shoes are printed with the footbed against the printer bed, so adding a tub would be impossible without using supports. The use of supports adds significant print and post-production time.

Alternatively, to create a tub sole without supports, but the midsole would have to be printed in two parts, which adds cost in other areas (two printers, double labor for printing, furter labor for assembly, glue dry times)

By printing “upside down” the part could be printed in one piece, without supports. 

This allowed for foot contour, for a more comfortable and stable shoe. Arch support could be printed in as well, had the spec not required against it.
Printing in this orientation also allowed for toe spring, which was a welcome improvement in our shoes. This was achieved by bending the sole around the curve of the last during assembly.

3D printing allows for different durometers within a single part, without any assembly.

Shown here are areas of adjusted durometer for stability and motion control compared with a neutral sole.

Shown here are sizes 8B and 12D. The infill is increased to support the heel strike in a heavier wearer.

3D printing also allows for durometers to change within a size run. This can address greater overall weight of the wearer without a change in material.

Auxetic cage: forms easily around a dually curved surface 

64 eyes: allow for customizable lacing support

Dual duty laces: Type 3 7-strand paracord, rated for 550lb

Sidewall pattern: inspired by the standard issue M4 rifle

Recycled polyester sock upper