Tom Peeters January 21, 2016

It’s a joyous week over at Phits™ Insoles! And if you’re excited by the prospect of accessible 3D-printed custom insoles, tailored to your own feet and gait, it’s a joyous week for you too. This guest post by Tom Peeters, Marketing Manager, tells you what you can look forward to from this pioneering company and their passion for customized 3D-printed insoles.

In April 2014, RS Print was founded as the result of a quest for the ultimate custom orthotic. Less than two years later, as of January 2016, we’ve got an award-winning product! And it’s not some obscure award handed out by an obscure organization at a fair held in some shabby shed. None of that… our Phits™ insoles just won the ISPO Award and that feels really great. ISPO is one the largest sports business networks worldwide and their trade fairs are the biggest and most important sporting goods fairs in the industry. The recognition by their independent jury, choosing our orthotics out of many high-tech products, really merited celebrations at our facilities in Paal-Beringen, Belgium.

Sander and Dennis from the Phits™ Insoles team with marathoner (and Phits™ fan) Paula Radcliffe
Sander and Dennis from the Phits™ Insoles team with marathoner (and Phits™ fan) Paula Radcliffe

For myself, this award was a climax on our way to establishing our brand. I joined RS Print no longer than a year ago, on January 5th 2015 to be precise, a completely new and different chapter in my professional life. I had worked as an event manager, project manager and account manager at Belgium’s number one sports marketing company, and before that I even worked in politics. I really learned a lot from my previous jobs, but none of that was comparable with what I’ve experienced the last 12 months: being there for the very first steps of a small tech start-up with audacious ambitions. So, in brief, my background is not at all useful for the brilliant developments of my colleagues, and yet, I also fit into the team…

Phits™ Insoles: The Passionate Pioneers with a Purpose

Over the last few months, all the pieces started fitting together, product- and marketing-wise. By trial and error, RS Print 3D Printed Custom Orthotics became Phits™ Insoles. And so then, a few nights ago, after a rather poor and frustrating indoor soccer game – despite a pair of Phits™ in my soccer shoes – I quickly looked at my emails and saw that one particular message.

Subject: The jury’s decision. I didn’t know what to expect, but it stood there, right in front of me: Hello Tom, Thank you for participating in the ISPO AWARD 2016. The jury have debated all applications and have now selected the winners. And so we are delighted to send you good news: Your product IA16_354: Phits - Dynamic Custom 3D Printed insoles was chosen as WINNER.

At moments like these, you might get a bit euphoric and slightly overconfident—and hey, that’s okay, there’s nothing wrong with celebrating and enjoying your achievements. As long as you keep in mind that this marvelous achievement is first of all a team effort. And that this is just the beginning of a journey. Perhaps a journey that results in more awards, who knows. Most certainly a journey that will be bumpy, cold, rainy and lonesome at some stages—but with this team, anything goes.

The key factor is not so much academic excellence, slick sales and marketing skills or high-end management strategies. It’s about gut feeling, about passion, about cleverness. If I’m to give the team a nickname, it would be the Passionate Pioneers, a bunch of people on a mission to help people to make their move. Because that mission is our fundamental belief, our raison d’être.

Additive Manufacturing is a wonderful, somewhat disruptive technology and winning this ISPO award is an incredible team boost. But these tech-savvy orthotics and awards are in itself utterly meaningless if it wouldn’t serve the real heroes in this story: all the experts that help people to achieve their goals by providing the right pair of Phits™ for them, day in, day out. Our orthotics conquered the London Marathon, faced the horrors of the Lanzarote Ironman and even completed the Vuelta a Espana for professional cyclists, but more important, they helped people with real difficulties to make their move again.

Or as TCT Magazine stated a while ago: These wearables are not cool accessories for the contemporary fashion enthusiast, they’re purposeful products that provide real value, tailored to the individual’s data and lifestyle and currently the most accessible form of 3D footwear for the masses. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Discover Phits™ at ISPO Munich (January 24th-27th) in Hall B4, Booth 109.

Want to find out how Materialise and Phits™ Insoles work together? Read the case study!