If you asked me a year ago, if we would be wearing 3D printed shoes anytime soon, I probably would have given you a good belly-laugh. I would have told you that consumer level 3D printing is for the creation of hard plastic objects, and there is no way a 3D printed shoe could even come close to being comfortable, let alone attractive.
However, a year later, a lot has changed. Consumer level 3D printers have gotten better, and most importantly the materials have evolved to a point where we are no longer limited to hard plastic objects. With the release of flexible filaments, such as NinjaFlex and FilaFlex, we are now able to 3D print objects that have many more uses.
If you were to ask me now, if we will be wearing 3D printed shoes anytime soon, I’d probably say that there is a good chance of it.
Over the past year, we have gradually begun seeing more and more footwear hit 3D printing depositories around the net, as well as grab headlines on 3D printing news websites. Whether it is a company like Feetz which plans to start producing and shipping custom shoes by Christmas 2014, or sneakers such as the Sneakerbot II, which are entirely free to download and 3D print, thanks to the makers of FilaFlex, things are changing.
The latest 3D printed shoes come from a designer named Michele Badia, of MyMiniFactory. He designed some very attractive looking velcro shoes, called the ‘Leopard shoes’. They can be download for free and printed on your own 3D printer using NinjaFlex filament, or purchased directly from MyMiniFactory, for only $49.00.
“We made these shoes to showcase the power of NinjaFlex – a new flexible filament which we’ve been obtaining great results with, as well as to generate some new and unique content,” Rees Calder, of MyMiniFactory told 3DPrint.com. “We definitely plan on making more, maybe a pair of sandals next; the sky is the limit really. We printed them on a Makerbot Replicator 2, print time of about 15 hours each as you have to print slower when using NinjaFlex.”
They say that the shoes are completely functional and suitable for day-to-day use. While I haven’t had a chance to try these on, I would imagine that they have a similar comfort level to a pair of crocs. What do you think? Would you consider buying these shoes for $49, or better yet, printing them out yourself at home? Discuss in the Leopard Shoe discussion thread on 3DPB.com.
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