Vancouver-based footwear company Casca has launched its proprietary 3D technology, unlocking personalized fit for consumers, thanks to a $3.5 million investment led by Khosla Ventures and joined by Tobias Lutke, founder of Shopify.
“At Casca, our vision is to set a new standard for the future of footwear,” said co-founder Braden Parker. “A big part of this is the way we manufacture. Casca challenges traditional manufacturing with a fresh approach that is customized, automated, and decentralized. Leading to a better quality shoe, and a better overall customer experience.”
Parker said Casca aims to redefine the everyday shoe through timeless design and purposeful material and manufacturing innovation. Casca’s holistic approach to design incorporates advanced technology, high-performing premium materials, and the pursuit of zero waste initiatives to create the perfect everyday shoe.
“We originally started Casca along with this movement of athleisure and the way that people were wearing all-day clothes sort of shifting. We found that people were really wearing three specific types of shoes. You have the kind of like high-performance running shoes that were being worn every day. And then you have people who were wearing Converse and Vans and sort of everyday shoes but they didn’t provide any sense of support for high performance. And the third group was the premium classics. Well-designed shoes,” said Parker.
“So out of necessity, my co-founder and I had a similar problem. We felt that there wasn’t a shoe that combined all those various elements. So we set out to do just that – to create the perfect everyday shoe, and we wanted to design it in a way that could be worn in any environmental or social setting. That was really where the original intent came from.”
Parker said the company’s use of 3D-printing technology dramatically increases efficiency and reduces waste, specifically within the manufacturing phase. Casca hopes to fully decentralize the supply chain and manufacture 100 per cent custom-fit shoes in store by 2029.
“Every individual is incredibly unique and their feet are incredibly unique. So we were wanting to go out and find the solution that could provide a customized support for every individual and that’s really what led us into the 3D printing realm and so now we basically are creating our shoes using some traditional manufacturing techniques and integrating it with some advanced digital manufacturing techniques on our quest to create a perfect everyday shoe.”
Casca recently opened its doors to the company’s first retail space at 4166 Main St, in Vancouver, BC. The store has about 500 square-feet of retail space with another 500 square-feet of 3D printing space where it has about 36 printers.
“The human foot is more unique than a fingerprint and customized insoles help provide optimal support,” said co-founder Kevin Reid. “Working with podiatrists, we provide advanced orthotic support that is typically overlooked in mass-produced footwear. We’re determined to create holistic solutions that are healthier, higher functioning and stand the test of time.”
Parker said the store’s sleek interior invites guests to try on Casca’s signature sneakers and experience the entire FootB3DTM process from start to finish, with the brand’s operating 3D printers on display.
Reid described the design of the retail space. “Designed by Dublin-based designer Eponine Leahy, the space reflects Casca’s combination of craft and tech, providing an immersive environment to display our innovation and welcome in the Vancouver community.”
The company’s debut model, Avro, features a custom FootB3DTM printed insole and proprietary support system to deliver a precise fit and advanced comfort. Avro is available in two climate-oriented options; Avro crafted from waterproof leather and Avro Knit, constructed with a highly-breathable, seamless knit upper. Both models feature Casca’s patented orthotic system, Lift OS, designed to secure the foot and provide support in all the right places.
FootB3DTM is 3D printed according to precise arch and foot measurements, as well as adjustments to the shoe cavity by raising or lowering the FootB3DTM height. Casca shoes and FootB3DTM are delivered to your door in 14 days or less.
Parker said the company does have a goal to expand its retail operations.
“We don’t have anything immediately in the pipeline. This is really our first store. So the existing plan is to really create that perfect customer experience. In the next six months we’ll start looking at new locations,” he said.
“We’ll take a look at Toronto, potentially Calgary, and maybe doing a few pop-ups as well to sort of test demand in all the various cities before we go in.”