Shoes, shoes, we love 3D printed shoes! And whether they are meant for lounging, dressing up, or running, it’s fascinating to see how the future of footwear is changing thanks to 3D printing technology. While we’ve had glimpses into your basic flats, super cool high heels, and sneakers, when athletic shoes bearing major name labels involve 3D printing, we perk up, wondering what this will mean for the immediate future of our feet.
Coming from designer KXIV, it simply means there is a connection to architecture—and probably in a one-off pair. And while we see 3D printing projects connected to many different themes, shoes and architecture definitely make a unique coupling. The latest from KXIV features the Adidas Ultraboost sole topped with elements inspired by the National Stadium in Beijing, designed by Herzog and de Meuron.
As is so often the case, nature has inspired some of this project too. It’s not hard to see the nature-based concept rising up from the shoe, as KXIV gives a nod to the stadium’s nickname (‘the bird’s nest’). The texture of the tops of these shoes is rich and unique, with an intricate and highly functional lacing system that includes two laces that wrap around supports on both the upper and heel areas. 3D printing enters the picture with the double-loop cinch, responsible for holding the laces neatly in place. There is also another lace-lock that runs along the heel, keeping the ‘network’ held tightly together.
KXIV also designed the shoe with an added texture and material underneath. The webbed network is made of polyurethane connected to Lycra. Created in black, the shoes aren’t exactly festive, but they are sleek and chic, and would definitely be a conversation piece for the wearer.
This wasn’t the first time KXIV released footwear with a connection to architecture, as several years ago they made Jordan XI’s meant to be reminiscent of the white temple and black house of Chiang Mai, Thailand. They were considered ‘luxury sneakers,’ featuring exotic materials and textures like black python and buffalo, along with cowhide accentuated with a metallic design. To top that, pig and lamb skin accentuate the toe area. Although 3D printing was not part of creating the Jordan XI’s, extensive laser cutting was required—taking 16 hours to complete.
KXIV has managed to create true pieces of art with these sneakers, respectively athletic and luxurious. While it’s doubtful that Adidas will be releasing mass quantities of shoes made with snake, buffalo, pig and lambskin anytime soon, it is definitely possible that just as DIY artists are exploring and enjoying the uses of 3D printing, larger companies like Adidas will continue to do so too—and, of course, we know that Adidas is working to incorporate 3D printing into at least one major line of mass produced shoes as Carbon’s CLIP technology proves viable at scale. Discuss in the Ultraboost forum at 3DPB.com.[Source / Images: designboom]