We want to keep you in the loop every step of the way on our quest to create amazing footwear. Things might not always go to plan but without having a plan it can be hard to get to where you want to go.
December 24 update:
In the past 12 weeks we've learned a lot. The beginning of our footwear journey was not without challenges but overall has been an awesome experience. We released our FC-0.5 Beta shoe and the support and feedback from those willing to experiment with us was amazing.
Our excitement with the FC-0.5 was with the simple design based on a watershoe. 3 pieces of material, sizes able to accommodate different shapes of feet and the ability to ship shoes in an envelope. So cool.
With that said, there's lot of room for improvement. The foam insole is annoying, the fit isn't very precise, the new UFS sizing presented challenges for some when measuring their feet, durability and wear & tear varied widely based on the way people move, and logistics challenges around the Christmas season and with C19 presented us with a lot of friction when trying to get shoes to customers.
The problems aren't too hard to fix: a thin, sewn-in footbed instead of a separate foam insole, clearer instructions for how to measure your UFS size, reinforced toe area to combat wear and tear for those who tend to roll off the toes instead of extending through them, and a reliable logistics partner who can ship efficiently and track packages across the globe.
With that said, our team at TFC is stretched to our limit with projects and need to make some decisions for 2021.
After a few months of experimentation with 3D printing foot models, we realized that at the core of the current footwear problem is the lasts that footwear manufacturers use to make shoes, and that we could help solve that problem. UFS Footprints are high precision 3D printed footwear lasts that can be customized for manufacturers to improve the shape of their shoes.
Human foot shaped lasts and a sizing system that is simple, intuitive and consistent across the world and across brands who decide to evolve how they make footwear and how they size them.
After some deliberation leading into the Christmas break, our team has decided to put footwear manufacturing on pause for 2021 and refocus our energy on UFS Footprints. Why? Because it presents an opportunity to do what we're good at and achieve much more scalable change in the footwear industry by helping existing manufacturers improve the shape of their shoes.
It's going to take us time (and money) to become a world class footwear manufacturer but we have the opportunity to be a world class last manufacturer and ally to footwear brands wanting to do better.
We will continue to sell FC-0.5's in 2021 with a disclaimer about foot function and durability (the less naturally your foot moves, the most focal the wear).
The plan with footwear: Partner with investors to raise money and launch a Canadian design and manufacturing operation in 2022 to release a world class $100 shoe that sets a new standard in natural footwear. We're calling it the FC-1.0 and we're stoked to make that a reality for you all. It will feature a Vibram sole, offered in our full UFS size range (210 to 320mm lengths) and eventually we plan to manufacture different width choices for each length.
Thanks to everyone who has supported this project to date and we look forward to continuing to work in order to make the FC-1.0 a reality.
- DF Team