Any industry in which customization can be utilized to better cater consumers is an industry which 3D printing may be able to influence. For example, within the shoe industry, every dimension counts. No foot is exactly the same as another, meaning that the current system of shoe sizing is a bit outdated. A typical shoe size accounts for the length of the foot, but is based on a half-integer system, i.e. size 3, 3.5, 4, 4.5 etc. What if your foot falls somewhere in between, or what if your foot is wider or thicker than the average foot? These are all problems which 3D printing is able to solve.
Over the last year, we have seen a number of companies emerge on the scene, offering a vast array of 3D printed shoe ideas. From startup Feetz, which allows individuals to have their shoes 3D printed on a typical FDM printer, to various designers showing off incredible, but likely uncomfortable shoes, the technology is inching its way into the industry.
Today, in what is likely the most exciting entrance into the 3D printing shoe market yet, 3D Systems has announced a partnership with United Nude, a company known for their designer high heels, as well as their past work with 3D printers. Recently they were credited for helping designer Iris Van Herpen 3D print shoes with a high tech laser sintering printer for her runway show. This partnership, however, will utilize the 3D Systems’ consumer based Cube® 3 desktop 3D printer, to print out the new ‘Float’ shoes in three separate pieces, which then carefully link together.
“After pioneering wearable, 3D-printed shoes using a state-of-the-art Selective Laser Sintering 3D printer, we are thrilled to deliver fully functional, 3D-printed shoes designed for an affordable home desktop printer,” said Rem D Koolhaas, Founder of United Nude. “This design is about creating something beautiful and interesting; it’s about experimenting, moving forward and learning along the way.”
The Float shoes will officially be unveiled tomorrow, August 6, at the United Nude retail location in Soho, Manhattan. Here, the company plans on allowing customers to walk into the store, interact with a touch-screen console to customize their design, and then have their shoes printed right before their eyes within the store. United Nude also plans to have Cube 3 printers in the store’s windows constantly printing out shoes, a rather interesting and likely very effective method of attracting eyes to their storefront.
Because of the fact that the Cube 3 printers, which are offered by 3D Systems for just $999, can only print in rigid plastics, these shoes will not have the comfort that many may be used to. With that said, the idea is sure to interest those consumers who want a trendy new look, as well as the ability to take part im their shoe’s fabrication process. The Float shoes will be available at the Manhattan location as well as the United Nude website.
The Cube 3 printers are capable of printing in two colors via dual extruders. It’s certainly interesting to see new applications emerge for affordable consumer desktop printers like this one. Let’s hear your thoughts on this new partnership in the 3D Printed United Nude shoes forum thread on 3DPB.com.