Danish outerwear brand Rains has partnered with Zellerfeld, a company that is enabling fashion brands to create 3D printed shoes through desktop 3D printers and TPU. The new Puffer sneaker, which debuted at Rains´ AW23 Fashionweek show in Paris in January, is now available for purchase for $260.
“Translating our signature puffers into a sneaker is the ultimate manifestation of Rains in a shoe. And for us to have access to the 3D-technology Zellerfeld has developed is a dream scenario for a design team. The realized product is integrated into our PU universe, offering our customers a head-to-toe option that feels signature to the design ethos at Rains – a small piece from the runway with big impact,” said Tanne Vinter, Head of Design at Rains.
“The Rains Puffer Sneaker beautifully showcases the superiority of 3D-printed footwear. Not only were we able to produce uniquely oversized and puffer elements that are traditionally complex to manufacture; we also did it with just one push of a button. At Zellerfeld, our goal is to empower all brands to realize their creative visions through accessible and sustainable footwear printing. Our partnership with Rains is yet another shining example of our mission in action,” said Cornelius Schmitt, CEO at Zellerfeld.
Zellerfeld has stated that the printed shoe consists for 90 percent of air. In the renderings, you can see the oversized puffy design is fabricated from just one material and in a single piece. We don’t know yet if this is comfortable long-term, but if someone makes a shoe like this that is comfortable, we stand a real fighting chance of having a hit 3D printed shoe on our hands. The companies tout the shoe as sustainable ,which could be based on the single material and ability to easily recycle it compared to other shoes that may be made of dozens of materials. Of course, it would be better to create footwear made from recycled or biologically-derived material. However, the central claim could yet lead to a fairly straightforward circularity play, whereby the duo collect and recycle the shoes quite easily.
At this point, the Puffer sneaker is probably a fairly straightforward trial balloon for both firms. Zellerfeld makes it easy for brands to extend into footwear with a 3D printed shoe. This kind of barrier-lowering behavior can really help accelerate adoption. As we stated in our earlier post on “fabulators,” Zellerfeld is representative of a new wave of systems integrators that are aiding in the spread of AM. Systems integrators and manufacturers that have a brand story and connect the uninitiated with the endless promise of additive.
Early success in limited collections with many companies could yet translate into broad consumer appeal. Alternatively, niche, high-end limited edition footwear could be a very profitable area for Zellerfed and its partners to play in. Just this niche alone can be fantastically profitable in a very manageable way when it comes to the upfront investment and overall effort. That low outlay may allow Zellerfeld and its partners keep on practicing. Maybe they can quickly iterate and keep abreast of trends so often and do this so well that they can have a real hit on their hands eventually. I think more businesses should emulate Zellerfeld and become the Zellerfeld of 3D printed bike components, the Divergent of 3D printed fashion, and so forth. That would seem to be a very profitable and fun area to play in.
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