Home 3D Scanner Perfect Fitting Shoes thanks to Volumental’s 3D-Scanning Technology – Interview with Alper...

Perfect Fitting Shoes thanks to Volumental’s 3D-Scanning Technology – Interview with Alper Aydemir

Swedish company Volumental is an innovative provider of FitTech, a technology that allows shoppers to find their best-fitting footwear quickly and easily, whether shopping in stores or browsing online. Using a 3D foot scanner, customers can get instant and accurate footwear recommendations. In an interview with 3Druck.com, CEO and Co-Founder Alper Aydemir shares his insight into the footwear industry and explains the importance of 3D scanning and printing technology for the sector.

Established in 2012 by four PhD students at The Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm – Alper Aydemir, Caroline Walerud, Miroslav Kobetski, and Rasmus Brönnegård – the company’s roots are deeply embedded in a shared passion for tech and using machine learning to solve the everyday problems that we all face. Following extensive market exploration, they ultimately developed a 3D-scanner designed specifically for measuring the dimensions of human feet, particularly their volume – hence the name Volumental.

Today the company has scanned more than 50 million feet around the world. By combining 3D scanning, retail purchase data and AI, Volumental provides shoppers not only with their detailed foot measurements, but also with personalised footwear recommendations for shoe sizes and styles that will best fit their feet.

Interview with CEO Alper Aydemir

In an interview with 3Druck.com, CEO and Co-Founder Alper Aydemir, shares his insight into the industry and comments on the status of 3D scanning and 3D printing technology within the footwear sector. Apler previously worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Google Tango. Subsequently, upon relocating to Sweden, he co-founded Volumental during his tenure as a Ph.D. candidate at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology.

In your opinion, what significance does 3D scanning have for the footwear industry?

Alper Aydemir, Image: Volumental

3D scanning is having a significant impact across all parts and stages of the footwear industry. Not only does 3D foot scanning allow customers to better understand their feet and find the right fit, it also provides footwear brands and retailers with deep data insights that inform footwear design decisions.

Volumental’s R&D  lab has collaborated with many brands such as lululemon, providing them with more than 1 million unique foot scans that aided the creation of lululemon’s first line of footwear, specifically designed for women’s feet. This dataset allowed the brand to understand the unique biomechanics of women’s feet in comparison to men’s feet. The resulting product line was a major success: the lululemon Blissfeel 2 was named Best Women’s Running Shoe of 2023 by Runner’s World, and in 2024 the brand announced that they would also expand into men’s performance footwear.

Additive manufacturing and 3D technology has continuously developed in recent years. Which innovations or technological breakthroughs do you consider to be particularly important in the area of 3D scanning?

There is growing interest in the possibilities of additive manufacturing for footwear. While currently at an early stage, there are promising opportunities being explored by brands such as Zellerfeld and Vivobarefoot, who both use Volumental 3D scanning technology to create custom-made, 3D-printed footwear.

One of the most important breakthroughs will be around the materials used for 3D-printed footwear. Additive manufacturing is often pitched as a more sustainable alternative to traditional manufacturing, due to the ability to produce close-to-consumer, but the materials used must also take sustainability into account. Vivobarefoot is making great strides in this area, testing new products made with biodegradable materials.

Another important aspect is that 3D scanning needs to be readily available everywhere. Not all consumers will have access to a store with a 3D foot scanner, so at-home solutions will be increasingly crucial for 3D printing to gain momentum. To this end, Volumental is rolling out a tool that allows shoppers to scan their feet with just their smartphone.

First Corona and the now high inflation pose major challenges for the entire industry. In your opinion, how do the multiple crises affect your industry sector?

Retail is under pressure and decision makers are increasingly cautious about which technologies to invest in. However, the rate of digitalisation is so rapid that retailers know they risk being left behind if they don’t have a strategy for changing consumer behaviour and engaging deeply at every touchpoint.

Similarly, retailers know that they need to bring down their product return rates in order to improve their margins, and technologies that help them achieve this will be highly sought after. Volumental’s 3D scanners have proven to cut product return rates significantly at the same time they boost customer experience and conversion rates.

What impact do you think 3D scanning will have on various industries and possibly society as a whole in the coming years?

Almost all experiences are moving towards personalisation, and footwear retail is no exception. As 3D scanning becomes the norm, the idea of having to guess your fit (and dealing with totally inconsistent size charts) will seem very outdated. 3D scanning has the opportunity to demonstrate the vast range of body shapes and sizes and to find great fitting products for all of them. This will likely impact both the design of new products to reflect the diversity of feet, and allow shoppers to be more educated about the products they buy.

Here you can find out more about Volumental and their 3D scan solution.

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