Aly Khalifa, founder of Gamila Company, is creating a lot of buzz for the company’s next big project, LYF Shoes. Their business model offers environmental sustainability that competitors’ shoe factories do not. With the use of 3D printers, LYF Shoes will be customized shoes that are sold made-to-order.
“It’s basically assembling shoes not that differently than you would assemble hamburgers, on demand and at the point of sale,” Khalifa said.
Khalifa likens his vision to a hamburger shop, but it has not yet been announced how quickly the shoes could be printed. 3D printers currently can take two minutes to print out a single paperclip, so complex shoe designs may have customers shopping around elsewhere until their order is ready.
Based in Raleigh, North Carolina, Gamila Company is known for the Teastick, an invention of Khalifa’s, and it also manufactures single-serve coffeemakers.
Khalifa believes Gamila Company is already on its way to making LYF Shoes a reality; they just need seed capital.
According to Triangle Business Journal, LYF Shoes already has garnered the support of Cherokee through the Cherokee-McDonough Challenge, and they created a lot of interest at this year’s Sustainable Brands conference in San Diego.
Because of the 3D-printing technology, the shoes could be assembled without the use of glue or toxic adhesives. Additionally, they are recyclable, as customers would be encouraged to return their worn-out shoes to LYF.
“We would disassemble them and make new shoes,” he said. Khalifa added that the shoes will never see a landfill, according to Triangle.
LYF Shoes are projected to cost around $150, and they would be capable of collecting data for daily foot action and mobility.
LYF Shoes’ slogan, “Love Your Footprint,” speaks of the shoes’ self-tracking technology and encourages customers to feel proud for their environmentally sound decision to purchase recyclable shoes.
Photo: LYF Shoes