3D printed shoes

The Smithsonian's Design Decoded blog reports on the latest developments in 3D printed footwear, including the fashion designers and students who are experimenting with printing out shoes using cheap materials that only last for "one lap down a runway." As Andrew writes on the Makerbot blog, "the artist worked with what was available to push the limits of the design, and the design will drive the demand for the needed materials. This is truly a case where life will catch up to imitate the art." Sarah C. Rich expands:

As materials science advances, injection molding may give way to 3D printing—a strategy that’s widely used in design studios for pushing formal boundaries, but as yet not ubiquitous on the footwear market. Most polymers used in 3D printers are too hard and inflexible to make a comfortable shoe, although fashion students and designers have not been deterred from producing them, if only for one lap down a runway. The existing concepts invariably look rather sci-fi, with web-like lines that wrap the foot.

Swedish designer Naim Josefi envisions a consumer environment in which a shopper’s foot would be scanned in-store, and a shoe printed on demand that perfectly fit the wearer’s anatomy. Brazilian designer Andreia Chaves’s Invisible Shoe pairs a common leather pump with a 3D-printed cage-like bootie, while Dutch fashion designer Pauline van Dongen’s Morphogenesis shoe more closely resembles a platform wedge. And at the London College of Fashion, student Hoon Chung created a line of 3D printed shoes for a final project, which look perhaps the closest to contemporary styles, though the molded shapes betray a high-tech production method.

These Shoes are Made for Printing (via Makerbot blog)

(Image: Andreia Chaves’s Invisible Shoe)


  1. These shoes remind me of the Dire Straits Money For Nothing video. Rudimentary and hamstrung by the technology. But man… think how far CGI has come since then. In light of that, it’s hard not to be optimistic for 3D printing technology.

  2. Love these, it’s always exciting when a new industry picks up 3d printing as a tool/medium!

  3. Okay, so you DID all read where it says they only last for “one lap around the runway”, right? Which means: wear these shoes and you will PROBABLY collapse and break your ankle.

  4. they look fragile. the low poly look is cool but I looks like it can’t stand a few steps…

  5. OK 3D looks better in some things than others. Just gonna say it, shoes maybe shouldn’t be made into 3D. Now videos, movies, pictures; those look good in 3D. If you guys want to see some awesome videos/pictures in 3D just head to 3dtv.com and see all you want!

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