Founded in 2020, Fyous was originally intended to create bespoke footwear for runners using polymorphic moulding, the company’s proprietary technology. Whilst undertaking market research, Fyous co-founders Joshua Shires and Thomas Bloomfield discovered the challenges around orthotic footwear for diabetics.
More than half of the UK’s diabetics develop neuropathy, a loss of sensation in their feet that can lead to foot damage, ulcers and - in 10,000 cases a year - amputation. Of those amputees, over 70 per cent will die within five years.
Fyous found there was a need for medical footwear that could be manufactured quickly and accurately to provide well-fitting, functional yet stylish footwear that would help with the prevention and management of foot injury and ulceration.
Innovate UK has awarded the company their match-funded award, bringing investment to £1.4m.
In a statement, Bloomfield said: “Creating a shoe that is perfectly moulded to a patient’s feet has historically been elusive, with several alterations required which can take months, with the final shoe not always being the perfect fit.
“Our polymorphic moulding technology means that not only can we create the bespoke soles that fit each individual patient’s foot perfectly, but we can do it in a matter of hours in a standardised digital way. With the Innovate UK grant funding, we’re focusing on how we can reduce that manufacture time down to a matter of minutes with repeatability.”
The company said the basis of the grant will allow them to scale up their proprietary polymorphic moulding technology to be able to produce the footwear components more quickly, as well as fund an 18-month clinical trial in conjunction with the Universities of Salford, Sheffield and Leeds, two NHS Trusts and two National Institute for Health and Care Research organisations.
Dr Dinesh Selvarajah, senior lecturer in diabetes at Sheffield University and who will be overseeing the clinical trial, said: “Diabetic neuropathy is a common complication of diabetes and the leading cause of foot ulceration and amputations. Unfortunately, diabetes-related amputations have now reached an all-time high and urgent action is needed to reverse this trend.
“Innovations that reduce the risk of foot ulceration will reduce the need for amputations. The potential for patients to receive bespoke, fitted footwear that could keep their feet healthy within a short time frame can have a considerable impact on their overall risk of foot ulceration and amputation.
“It’s a really exciting project which hopefully will lead to direct patient benefit and long-term cost savings for the NHS.”