We have all seen 3D printed shoes before. In fact there are several companies which are based solely around the 3D printing of shoes, insoles, and other custom footware. What we haven’t seen much of are hybrid 3D printed/traditionally manufactured shoes. Such designs have the potential to combine what each manufacturing process excels the most at. The actual part of the shoe which one places their foot into needs to be soft and comfortable for walking. When this area is 3D printed, their tends to be a lot of discomfort, due to the fact that most printers extrude a material that is rigid when cooled. On the other hand, the sole and/or platform wedge of the shoe can be made with a variety of materials, and usually is rigid, making it the perfect part to utilize the complex design capabilities of 3D printing.
A young and talented fashion designer, by the name of Chris van den Elzen, has teamed with another designer, Judith van Vliet, to take this knowledge, and create their very own collection of shoes, they call EXCIDIUM. What they have done is utilize the best of both manufacturing methods to design intriguingly complex shoes, which are also very comfortable to wear.
The design, which was inspired by old abandoned buildings that have become inundated by nature, is described in more detail by van den Elzen, “These abandoned, derelict buildings bursting with ornaments. Overpowered by nature influences. They live their own lives.”
The upper portion of the shoes are made with calf leather, while the platform wedges are all 3D printed with a special filament provided by ColorFabb, called woodFill. When printed, the woodFill clearly resembles and has a similar texture to that of actual wood. van den Elzen outsourced the 3D printing and scanning to a Peggy Bannenberg, who printed the models at iFabrica, an open workspace for makers based in Amsterdam.
As you will notice by the images throughout this story, the shoes have quite the intricate design, and unless you look very closely, you would have no idea that the bottom half the design is almost entirely 3D Printed. This is how 3D printing should play into the art of design, by blending it inconspicuously with its surrounding elements, to produce a piece which is original, and eye catching, as well as comfortable to wear.
Chris’ EXCIDIUM collection will be on display July 11th, at Amsterdam International Fashion Week. Would you wear these shoes? Let’s hear your opinion in the 3D printed EXCIDIUM forum thread on 3DPB.com.