Earlier this week, 3DPI reported on the Adidas Ultraboost Parley shoe made out of 3D printed recycled plastic from the ocean. Reebok has also recently been seen using its Liquid Factory technology to 3D print accents for the sole and lacing of their sneakers. Although at this stage the technology won’t be used for mass production, it is pointing towards a new trend in the market, one which China’s Winbo Smart Tech are keen not to miss out on.
3D printing a prototype shoe eliminates the need for making a CNC wooden shoe to then cast in plaster for making a metal mold, this not only saves time,but also the materials used are much cheaper and cuts out some of the waste involved. Admittedly, this is nothing new that we haven’t already heard about the pros of additive manufacturing, but in these crucial early stages it is worth revisiting how 3D printing allows product prototyping to evolve more effectively. An ability to simply amend the CAD model and then print out a new solid plastic shape in a matter of hours is much simpler than having to go back to the drawing board and a block of wood every time.
The shoes designed by Winbo however are not only suitable as prototypes. Their website actively sells a few models as readily wearable footwear. The polygonal slippers they offer aren’t dissimilar to the pumps you can buy in stores.
And these high heels are seemingly inspired by the Alexander McQueen armadillo shoes famously worn by Lady Gaga. Before you think its too much, consider the trend in Vivienne Westwood LadyDragon shoes that are also made out of plastic.
We’d love to see Winbo’s shoe collection hitting the catwalk in some ‘fashion of the future’ theme show sometime soon. And look forward to seeing what new designs they create.