Innovation That Matters

Design your own baby shoes


It’s no longer a simple matter to rattle off all the “design-your-own” opportunities we’ve covered in recent years, so numerous have they become. Making the task even more challenging, one of our spotters recently alerted us to yet another one: a site that allows parents of small children to design their own baby shoes. Based in Connecticut, Preschoolians sells what it calls the most flexible shoes in the world for preschool-aged children. Available for kids in four stages–Crawlers, Walkers, Runners and Adventurers–the shoes come in a wide array of styles and colours for both boys and girls, including sandals, shoes, boots and slippers. Preschoolians use a sizing scheme that takes all three dimensions of a toddler’s foot into account, and their patented VisuFit technology–featuring a clear window on the sole to take the guesswork out of finding the right fit–was named one of Time Magazine’s Coolest Inventions of 2003. Perhaps even more interesting, however, is that in addition to its large line of existing designs, Preschoolians now allows parents to personalize more than 50 shoe, slipper and boot styles. With four customizable areas on each shoe and 27 colours to choose from, more than a billion variations are possible using the site’s simple Flash interface. Prices range from USD 30 to USD 60. Jeffrey Silverman, the company’s founder and CEO, explains: “The beautiful thing about this is that parents can easily design shoes for their babies to match literally any outfit. I’ve been in the footwear industry for over 20 years, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that people want to express their individuality without limitations.” Indeed, that’s a fair statement about just about any product category these days, from cellphones to energy bars to sleeping bags. Keep the customization innovations coming! (Related: Design your own Keds & sell them on Zazzle.) Spotted by: Roberta Steinberg



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