As the influence of 3D printing slowly spreads among the fashion world, especially in the industry of footwear, uniquely designed products and prototypes are grabbing our attention from all around the world. Coming straight from Israel’s Bezalel Academy of Art and Design is a shoe design that looks as fit for a modern museum as it does for your feet. The Energetic Pass collection, created by design student Neta Soreq for the final project in her shoe design course, consists of two sets of 3D printed shoes inspired by a natural spiraling design. This isn’t Soreq’s first 3D printing rodeo, prior to the Energetic Pass she designed the unique “Homage to Prism” shoe in 2014 (pictured below), the first 3D printed shoe ever created by a Bezalel Academy student.
The Prism design was inspired by a combination of 20th century psychedelic artwork and Pink Floyd’s classic album The Dark Side of the Moon. The outcome of her first 3D printed shoe was minimalistic, but unique, basically taking the shape of the prism and adding space for the foot smack-dab in the middle. This initial design was printed with FullCure 720 material, giving the shoe a transparent quality that adds to its psychedelically-inspired nature. Soreq’s Homage to Prism was her attempt to showcase the presence of the human foot even when it’s absent within the confines of footwear, and also used the design to “emphasize the meeting point between two different bodies”.
Her latest project, the Energetic Pass shoe, is similar in the fact that it is shape-inspired, but the spiraling design showcases a much more intricate and aesthetically mind-boggling shoe. Using SolidWorks 3D design software to develop the shoe digitally, Soreq then utilized a printer from Aran-RD SLS to produce the Energetic Pass out of Nylon 12 material (which offers more impact strength then any other FDM thermoplastic). The Energetic Pass I, is designed with one large, bell-bottomed-like platform hanging below the foot, taking where the ‘heel’ of the shoe is generally located and moving it to the center of the foot, which allows for balanced equilibrium of foot support.
On the other hand, the Energetic Pass II is a bit more similar to the traditional heel design, produced with two spiraling platforms for support. The longest of the two platforms is underneath the heel of the foot, creating a slight arch that is similar, but less extreme then the arch created by the traditional heel. But both designs are meant to give us the impression that we are walking on air, propelling our feet up towards the clouds. The foot remains propped up by the support underneath, which is both flexible and supportive (as you can see in her video below) thanks to her choice in using Nylon 12 material this time around.
Soreq’s design may not be ready for the consumer market just yet, but what she’s accomplishing instead is a combination between footwear fashion and high-art, practicability and uniqueness. She forces us to pose the question: just because we can now 3D print shoes, why do we have make them look so traditional? Thanks to Soreq, she is proving that 3D printing can do more then replicate fashion; it can innovate it, too!