If The Shoe Doesn’t Fit, Print It!

Usually when we talk about flip-flops here we mean the circuit. But in this case, it is [Jeandre Groenewald’s] 3D-printed shoe design called Sloffies. The shoes use TPU, and the matching package prints in PLA. Of course, you have to pick the size to fit your feet, and there’s an OpenSCAD file that allows you to customize the strap.

Unlike some 3D apparel we’ve seen, these look like a commerical product. Of course, the cool product packaging doesn’t hurt any. Are they comfortable? We don’t know, but our guess is it is no worse than other similar shoes that are made of one material.

You need to get the infill settings right, so there is a small test piece you can use for tuning. We aren’t sure what you are optimzing for, though, but at least you can see how the material will flex before you print an entire shoe.

We’ve seen commercial shoe printing, but not the entire shoe and packaging. If you are interested in creating your own designs, you don’t have to start from scratch.

16 thoughts on “If The Shoe Doesn’t Fit, Print It!

  1. I love this idea. One of the neat things about it is that if you could get an accurate model, you could print yourself custom orthotics. Another is that you could print a custom infill pattern that would change how the shoe flexes and vary the area over which your primary weight is distributed. My wife has a broken sesamoid bone that won’t heal because of poor bloodflow to ligament-embedded bones. Having a shoe that can’t transmit pressure in that specific, usually high pressure, area but instead puts it everywhere around the area, would make for a much more comfortable shoe as a production level product, rather than having to DIY it with a pair of scissors on custom insoles. Same with people recovering from calcanaeous fractures, which are incredibly painful for many months past when the people are out of a cast and trying to walk again.

  2. The issue I keep having with shoes, the soles always collapse on me. The cheap stuff is usually made in a cell structure to give that air cushioning effect, but as much as I run and jump, those cell walls keep collapsing and I end up with shoes with collapsed bottoms. Another option is solid synthetic rubber soles, but those are uncomfortably hard and always end up splitting in the winter when it gets cold. My best bet so far has been solid India rubber (natural rubber) or leather soles. I don’t see how plastic 3D printed soles would last even a month.

    1. Last “non-natural” shoes I bought were Rieker brand – took a whole three months for the shoes to split at the ball of the foot. The problem with those shoes in particular was the fact that they molded the bottoms in multiple parts in different colored plastics, with a seam going right along the line where it split – which is a similar problem as de-lamination is for 3D prints. If you don’t align the layers and the lines correctly, it will come apart very soon.

  3. Was this really worth a post?
    This seems rather uninspired slab of TPU, not even a pre-modeled interior for specific soft/hardness at specific points.
    Only relevant for the packaging?
    Seems pretty weak.

    1. On Sci-Fri last week they discussed Toxic Barbie! Older dolls are turning to goo on the outside. Plasticizers are not amalgamated with the stiff plastics. They come out, some are cancer causing.

      I found Ken’s head in a toolbox years ago, he floated around in there forever getting gooey.
      Yesterday I gave him a scrub. He changed his race back to original.

  4. I’m working on a similar idea but for a practical problem that really exists. Everyone can find flip flops in their size but I’m looking to design practical heels for women with large sizes. I’m a size 47(eu) and I can’t find anything feminine in my size. Just ordered a Prusa XL to print them on.

  5. Synthetic materials in modern shoes 👟 react with my foot sweat (which is caused by the inability of those Synthetics to “breathe”), and a foul smell develops.
    (No I’m not talking about athletes foot fungus!)

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