3D printing is everywhere these days. From drones to jewelry to toys to medical devices, virtually every industry is getting in on the action, including shoes! Big-name brands like Adidas and Nike have successfully incorporated this technology into their traditional manufacturing over the last several years, using it for everything from midsoles to complete prototypes.
So why all the fuss? It’s just another pair of shoes, right? Maybe. Maybe not. Let’s dig in
What Makes 3D Printed Shoes Different
- Sustainability: One of the primary benefits of 3D printed shoes is that they are more sustainable. With the earth groaning under the weight of discarded plastics and waste, it’s important to cut back in any way we can. With 3D printed shoes, both production and materials are much more eco-friendly. For example, Feetz, an American startup run by Lucy Beard, uses recycled and recyclable materials, uses no water, and reduces its carbon footprint by 60%!
- Customisation: 3D-printed shoes can be custom-made. Instead of going through box after box trying to find the perfect fit (and quite frankly, feeling like one of Cinderella’s ugly step-sisters), 3D printed shoes can be designed specifically for your unique foot shape. For anyone who has struggled being caught between standard shoe sizes or even has feet of different sizes or shapes, 3D printed shoes could be the answer to their prayers.
- Variety: 3D printing allows intricate designs and patterns that traditional manufacturing and materials just can’t achieve. And with the type of printable materials available, the combinations are endless.
- Performance Improvement: We’re not saying running in a pair of 3D printed shoes will make you as fast as Usain Bolt, but some designs, like the Adidas 4DFWD, were specifically created to improve athlete performance, thanks to its lattice structure and flexibility that can only be achieved through 3D printing.
The Future of 3D Printed Shoes
The concept of 3D-printed shoes doesn’t appear to be petering out anytime soon. According to SmarTech Publishing, it’s set to grow into a 6.3 billion dollar business over the next ten years. The big names (Adidas, New Balance, Nike, etc.) will continue to take center stage, but there are a number of other industrious companies that are putting their own unique spin on things.
image credit to @nathansmith.
One such company is Parametriks and its 001 sneaker. Self-described as “like crocs, but infinitely cooler,” these cleverly designed TPU-material shoes look like something straight out of the future. Made out of one single material, they use a custom algorithm to create a form that will envelop the wearer’s foot perfectly, providing unmatched comfort and flexibility.
What do you Think?
image credit to @nathansmith.
Would you wear a pair of 3D-printed shoes? Are you intrigued by the concept of custom-made footwear? Are you encouraged by the positive impact it could make both economically and environmentally? We love to see how thinking outside the box – or shoebox, as the case may be, can have such a remarkable reach into so many aspects of our lives. The future is now. You might as well have the right shoes to greet it.
Start 3D printing with us today.