Challenge

Skiers have had to traditionally choose between boots that were either comfortable or high performance.

Solution

A digital workflow that includes everything from scan to final printed ski boot.

Solution used

FDM, Custom-made software

Insight/how

Co-creation with Materialise; R & D, Design & Engineering and Certified Manufacturing

Combining comfort and high performance in one

After over 28 years working in the skiing industry and hearing beyond-countable complaints about uncomfortable, but high-performing ski boots, Reto's dream was to come up with something ground-breaking. He wanted to create ski boots that are simultaneously comfortable and good enough for competitive racing. This was unheard of up until the first TAILORED FITS boots hit the slopes.

After working with Materialise to come up with a custom solution and printing process, today TAILORED FITS can go from scan to 3D-printed boots that are truly tailored to fit the wearer’s feet.

Their number one goal was to get rid of the annoying pressure points from traditional ski competition boots and Reto is thrilled with the results. “Right now with an individual shaped liner, and a closed system from the leg to the liner to the boot, we can say that we have 100% comfort and provide 100% performance and power transmission.”

From scan to boot that fits like a sock

To get this custom fit, a digital workflow was created that goes all the way from 3D scan to finished product. A skier’s feet are scanned in ski shops using an application available on a tablet, and from there, TAILORED FITS works with the scan to design a custom boot. Once the design is in place, it then goes to the 3D printer where it goes from abstract computer design to a pair of boots ready for use.

“A big part of our collaboration with Materialise, is software engineering and development, to make sure the second after we receive a scan that we have a designed product. The partnership offers us a great collaboration in automating designs, but then also bringing these designs to the 3D printing machines and production,” says Reto. 

Long-time skier and trainer Raetus Schmid is thrilled with the results: “The new 3D printed liner has a big advantage — since it’s made out of one piece it fits like a sock and you have no pressure points at all. It’s just like a replica of your lower leg. And this way it transfers the power onto the skis much better.”

“Right now with an individual shaped liner, and a closed system from the leg to the liner to the boot, we can say that we have 100% comfort and provide 100% performance and power transmission.”

— Reto Rindlisbacher, Founder of Tailored Fits

Co-creation: carving out the ideal boot

To get to the point of having a clearly established process, TAILORED FITS embarked on a co-creation journey with Materialise. First they came up with a shared vision: a new era in ski boots with a complete digital supply chain. Important considerations included a way for shops to easily scan people’s feet, designing the ideal boot for 3D printing, and using the right technology and materials.

This was all discussed in sessions where they could talk about all that skiers demand from their boots: “With the collaboration with Materialise we understood better which process could be helpful for our solution since our requests are quite demanding. Skiing is outdoors. Skiing means a lot to the material – you’re in the cold, you’re coming back into the heat, you’re having parts in the sunlight so ‘UV-proofness’ is one of the demands. We wanted to make the liner warm so we need to have a 3D printing solution that is isolating,” said Reto.

“The co-creation process, was really exciting for us and a real eye opener. We could really evaluate the various technologies. Materialise knows all about 3D printing; the different processes and different machines. And then we started to work together.”

Based on the discussions with TAILORED FITS, Materialise identified Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) in a flexible material as the ideal solution. The design and engineering team developed a design for the boots that would be both flexible and strong enough for racing. 

“To ensure the performance of the boot we had to design it so that that the material could be flexible at the softest points of contact, and strong enough to support the hardest zones of impact. This meant having to design for the different pressure locations to give the specific strength or flexibility required. We did this using our knowledge of lattice structures to create the localized functionality,” explains Dries Vandecruys, Design & Engineering Manager, Materialise.

Tailored Fits - Customized 3D-Printed Ski Boots

Tailored Fits - Customized 3D-Printed Ski Boots

No more cold feet

For Raetus one of the best parts of the boots is that this is the first time out on the slopes in his life that he hasn’t had cold feet. And this in par is due to the impeccable fit: “The difference between the TAILORED FITS boot and traditional boots is that the traditional boot has been very functional for the last twenty, thirty years. And they are functional – there is no question about it. And the ski racers are all still using them. But the TAILORED FITS boot can do the same thing and be comfortable at the same time, which as racing boots and those people who use them know - they’re not really comfortable in most cases.”

Got big ideas of your own? See what 3D Printing can do for you!

If you think your project is too complicated, too early-stage, or simply too large for 3D Printing, chances are that one of our project managers would love to help you print it anyway. Give us an idea of what you’re looking for and let us handle the rest.

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