3D Printed Sneakers Are Now A Thing

Shoes may seem simple at face value, but are actually rather complex. To create a comfortable shoe that can handle a full day of wear without causing blisters, as well as deal with the stresses of running and jumping and so on, is quite difficult. Is it possible to create a shoe that can handle all that, using a 3D printer?

[RCLifeOn] discovered these sneakers by [Recreus] on Thingiverse, and decided to have a go printing them at home. While [Recreus] recommend printing the shoes in their Filaflex material, for this build, one shoe was printed in thermoplastic polyurethane, the other in Ninjaflex. As two filaments that are both commonly known to be pliable and flexible, the difference in the final parts is actually quite significant. The Ninjaflex shoe is significantly more flexible and cushions the foot better, while the rigidity of the TPU shoe is better for ankle support.

Our host then takes the shoes on a long run through the woods, battling dirt, mud, and other undesirables. Both shoes hold up against the abuse, although [RCLifeOn] notes that the Ninjaflex shoe is much more comfortable and forgiving for longer duration wear.

We’ve seen other 3D printed shoe hacks before, too – like these nifty shoelace locks.

19 thoughts on “3D Printed Sneakers Are Now A Thing

  1. Two words: Athlete’s foot.

    Molded plastic shoes existed briefly as the “latest thing” in the 1960s – I had a pair inflicted on me – and lack of ventilation meant they were dandy incubators of dermatophytic fungus. You might be able to create enough vents (a la Crocs) or partial infill gridwork to get away with this, but otherwise they’ll be a cute project and a misery to actually use otherwise.

  2. I think there is future to 3d printed shoes but not completely printed. Breathable materials and fabrics in general are too useful in shoes. But 3D printing provides the ability to customize shape to your own foot, so maybe a hybrid of techniques, where you 3d print the insole or the entire base, and attach to a traditionally made rest of the shoe.

    1. 3d printing the insole makes sense but it is definitely more cost-effective to use other methods for making the rest of the shoe. Even though 3d printing the insole would really only be used in special cases as insole manufacturers have found a way to classify the majority of peoples feet in such a way that insoles can be standardized.

      3d printing is great and all but it really isnt a technology that is ideal for mass manufacturing, It is geared more towards custom manufacturing where each part sold has to be unique. Even then, there are a lot of products where only one component needs to be custom and the rest of it can be mass manufactured, let’s use the right technologies for the right products rather than trying to apply one technology to all products.

    1. I have a dandy bone spur that sticks out on one foot. I had some plastic ski boots that were far more comfortable after I took a torch to them to make a dent to acomodate the bone spur.

    1. Yeah, I’ve seen all sorts of 3d printed shoes. It was one of the first things that people from the fashion industry latched on to with 3d printed tech. Nike, New Balance, Adidas and others have produced 3d printed designs. Of course they don’t do very well because solid plastic shoes are sweaty and terrible, and while additive manufacturing is a miracle for prototyping or small batches of custom designs, it is terribly slow and expensive at scale.

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