High-Tech Fashion: 3D Printed Shoes

3D printing is developing rapidly and, of course, it’s being embraced by the fashion industry among other spheres. But while the 3D printed clothes is not yet that comfy to wear, though it’s getting there, the footwear made the high-tech way can soon become reality. Well, it’s quite real now but hasn’t reached the point of being a widespread alternative to traditionally-made shoes.

3D Printed Shoes

Exoskeleton shoe by Janina Alleyne

Exoskeleton shoe by Janina Alleyne

In 2010 wearable 3D-printed designer shoes started emerging as the young designers began embracing the technology. One of such pairs was designed by Naim Josefi and Souzan Youssouf and called Melonia shoe, which was nominated for Brit Insurance Design Award of the Year 2011, and was printed using powder nylon. The shoe was made out of a continuous loop, wich made for an entirely different look. More 3D-printed shoes from other designers showed complex details, crazy forms, and monstrous heels.

The ambitious ideas became easier to realize using this high-tech approach though practicality of the designs can still be an issue. The Exoskeleton shoe designed by Janina Alleyne although looks incredible does not seem quite wearable so when it comes to wearability some designers prefer to combine traditional shoemaking techniques with the 3D printing. This allows them to enhance their designs further making the best of the two approaches. Designer Victoria Spruce who employs both 3D printing and traditional shoemaking has generated lots of interest toward the technology still since her kicks don’t look at all conventional.

The combination of both approaches is also Kerrie Luft’s way to make footwear. The designer who won Fashion Fringe Accessories prize in 2011 for her works combines the classic shoe shapes with the intricate printed heels.

Though 3D-printed shoes aren’t quite there to compete with the traditionally-made shoes you can already get yourself a pair of structured platforms or pumps from Continuum at $900. Their designs are available in black, red, and even trendy metallic as well as embroidered with flower-like details.

The technology certainly allows for greater possibilities and reduced cost of production as well as minimal to no waste. Take a look at the 3D-printed shoes in the gallery below and tell us what you think.