3D printing has had an revolutionary impact on the industrial world at numerous levels. While in some areas, researchers are producing groundbreaking studies and inventions as in medicine, other innovators are focused on improving essential needs, like clothing and shoes. That doesn’t mean, however, that they aren’t having fun in doing so. The latest in 3D printed footwear has just been released by Yanko Design, featuring some pretty cool (and comfortable looking) designs that they claim to 3D print in one hour.
The Armis Slide, classic and elegant in design, features a simple structure by Shun Ping Pek—and so much so that the whole shoe can be 3D printed at once. Consisting of an inner mesh and an outer covering designed to protect the foot with several different parts, the shoe is shock-absorbing and can be soft in one area while more rigid in another—as the wearer wishes, based on customization via data from foot pressure graphs.
The inner mesh is the result of a generative design algorithm, also responsible for preparing the entire structure of the shoe, including the placement of the outer shell. For this model, Shun Ping Pek relied on resin-based 3D printing. While the Armis Slide may not appear extraordinarily sturdy, hopefully (we have not been supplied with a price point thus far) the greatest benefits in additive manufacturing play a role through affordability, along with incredible speed in manufacturing, and the ability to make modifications for customer-specific comfort.
Apparel and footwear designers run the gamut enjoying 3D printing these days. Digital fabrication is a tool obviously in step with the artistic spirit as the middleman and factories can be cut out altogether. A designer can come up with an idea at any time of day or night, convert it into 3D, and begin printing prototypes or actual functional pieces (depending on their level of software, hardware, and material) in small batches.
From some pretty crazy looking interpretations of the high heel from artist/designers like Francis Bitonti and Annie Foo—to basic DIY shoes focusing on customization and available on platforms like Thingiverse—the ongoing evolution has been apparent. This is well-marked also by the emergence of multiple footwear leaders like Nike, New Balance, Adidas, Under Armour, Reebok and more. For instance, Adidas launched the 4D Futurecraft line and claims to be using Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis technology to mass produce the 3D printed footwear. New Balance has also been on a forward trend, beginning with the Zante Generate. They have collaborated with industry leaders like 3D Systems, HP, and Formlabs too—from launching the 3D printing platform, TripleCell, to presenting an obvious and impressive turn in their manufacturing techniques with the ability to customize shoes—and move away from the reliance on molds and direct printing.[Source / Images: Yanko Design]
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