Shoe Fit

August 1998

" Footwear Industry Inches Toward Mass Customization "




Computerized Measuring and Manufacturing can, in theory, create custom shoes at lower cost.

After 25 years in the shoe business and 10 years working on a mass customization model, Alan Zerobnick, President and CEO of Digitoe (Port Townsend, Washington), is making headway with his privately-owned and funded venture. A Custom Shoemaker, Zerobnick is in the process of developing an independent network of mobile retail fitting units- 28 foot motor coaches- that will travel around Seattle, visiting clients at the airport, hotels, or ferries. Mass customization, he says, is not in demand at the retail level yet, but he predicts that it will be in the next 5 years.

Last year a comfort shoe retailer in Seattle installed a Digitoe scanner in his store but the symbiosis was short-lived, Zerobnick says. He blames staff turnover and a lack of career shoe dogs.

"The idea of marketing footwear this way is totally different," he says. "When salespeople can go to the wall and grab a shoe and make $50, they wonder why to to all that trouble?"

The strength of mass customized footwear, Zerobnick says, is that it eliminates inventory completely, as well as markdowns, returns, and out-of-stocks.

"The retailer of the future will be more service-oriented than product-oriented. You won't walk in and buy a pair of shoes, but you might call them up and order a pair," he says.

Site Map

Return to Main Page


Shoe Art Gallery

Video Gallery

Business Opportunity

Contact Us


Interesting Links

Short Stories

Shoes for the
21st Century

Custom Fit Footwear

What is a Shoe Last?

Custom Made Shoes











Contact Us


© Copyright 1988-2000 Digitoe Inc., All Rights Reserved.