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Imagine being able to create your own unique, handmade shoes. You’d never have to go shoe shopping — and see all those nice-but-not-quite-right shoes — again
It’s now a reality.
Australian-based startup Shoes of Prey allows you to design your own pair of shoes online. With Shoes of Prey, you can design every aspect of the shoe, from the colour to the fabric to the heel height.
It can take anywhere from 10 minutes to hours upon hours to design a shoe, Shoes of Prey co-founder Jodie Fox tells Business Insider.
In fact, people have collectively spent 50 million minutes designing shoes on the site, which translates to about 95 years. During that time, Shoes of Prey customers have created 10 million shoes.
Right now, Shoes of Prey is geared toward women. But Fox says that some men have used the site to design some low-profile Oxford shoes. A pair of flat Oxfords starts at around $200, for instance, with about $169 for sandals or $379 for ankle boots.
“In terms of doing a male-focused product, I think that the market behaves quite differently and perhaps isn’t as exciting for me as the female market,” Fox says. “If you think about it, I have no doubt that men are comfortable to spend $600 on a pair of shoes but the issue is men will only have six pairs of shoes in their cupboard and will probably only buy the shoes every three to four years, with a couple of exceptions, like my publicist.”
Obviously, there are exceptions to the rule. But Fox says the female market has more potential for her business.
In addition to the online store, Shoes of Prey has a retail presence where people can try on their shoe size, understand the quality of the shoe, and see what their shoe will look like in real life.
“I definitely still see value in a physical presence,” Fox says. “If retail remains only about online and physical presence for even the next 10 years, I’ll be very disappointed because i think there’s a lot of room for innovation and change in that space.”
Fox points to 3D printing, which she calls one of the most ultimate merges of the online and offline world. Already, Fox is experimenting with developing prototypes of heels using 3D printing.
“I just truly believe in that it’s not a question of integration,” Fox says. “We shouldn’t even be thinking about what’s simply available to us now, we should be dreaming of what the ideal solution is because we’re at a tipping point with technology where anything truly is possible. You just need to think what that ideal solution is and then you can go and build it.”
While still unsure of the ideal solution, Fox says she’s interested in using 3D printing throughout the entire creation process. But the issue there is that the materials made available for 3D printing are currently limited to plastics, metals, and earthenware.
So when you’re making high-quality shoes made out of suede and other types of fabrics, 3D printing isn’t the best solution, at least not yet.
At the same time, Fox sees a lot of potential in virtual try-on and holographic technologies to facilitate purchasing shoes. With Shoes of Prey, Fox hopes it will revolutionise the way women buy shoes.
We picked the oxfords for their class and simplicity. On the left-hand side, you can look at some inspirations to get your creative juices flowing.
If you click those little circles, you can customise the colour and fabric of the different elements of the shoe i.e. insole, tongue, mid panel, etc.
In the bottom right corner, Shoes of Prey makes colour recommendations based on the selections you've already made.
The next step is to select your shoe size. Once you place the order, you can expect to receive your handmade shoes within four weeks.
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