For several years now, the footwear industry and additive manufacturing players have been collaborating on innovative shoe projects. You may recall Adidas’ 3D-printed 4DFWD sneakers or Athos’ 3D-printed climbing shoes — 3D-printed footwear is easing its way to the mainstream. This time around, we have fashion designer Heron Preston, known for upcycling counterfeit products, and his partnership with the New York City Department of Sanitation, who has decided to use 3D printing technology to bring the 3D-printed HERON01 sneaker to market. This partnership with Zellerfeld, an American company founded by engineering students, has brought to life Heron’s vision for a fully 3D-printed slip-on sneaker that requires no stitching or glue. As a single unit, the sneaker is a rather rare product—additive manufacturing is often used to manufacture only one part of the shoe, such as the sole for example.
“With additive manufacturing, the potential is limitless,” Preston shared in a statement. “I was able to design and print working and scalable prototypes in a matter of hours—with traditional manufacturing it would have taken months. I can’t wait to print more shoes and updates.” Benefits that could make 3D printing of shoes a popular manufacturing method. Especially since, thanks to additive manufacturing and the materials used, the HERON01 can be fully recycled once its life cycle has ended.
Whether in the medical sector, the fashion industry, or even the automotive industry, it is now common to see 3D printing technology used to design custom parts. In this case, Heron Preston wants to provide customers with personalized and tailor-made shoes. To do this, consumers will have to scan their feet using a smartphone, and the shoes will then be 3D printed. For those who would like to acquire the HERON01, it is available in three colors, through the online retailer StockX. “The StockX ethos of always challenging the status quo is very much in line with Heron Preston’s vision as a designer and the brand values that guide Zellerfeld. Our partners have spent years pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in fashion, and this innovative 3D printed shoe is a direct result of that work,” said Deena Bahri, StockX CMO.
According to Cornelius Schmitt, CEO of Zellerfeld, the partnerships between creators, designers, and additive manufacturing players are not about to end. He concludes: “Heron is a truly inspiring designer, and 3D printing will allow visionaries like him to reshape shoes for the better.”
Designer Heron Preston with the HERON01 on his feet. (Photo Credit: Zellerfeld)
What do you think of Heron Preston & Zellerfeld’s 3D-Printed HERON01 slip-on sneaker? Let us know in a comment below or on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly newsletter, with all the latest news in 3D printing delivered straight to your inbox!