A US-based apparel design company, PEAR&MULBERRY, has used 3D printing technology to develop a custom-made shoe that can address health issues for developing children.
Buying shoes is often seen as something more related to fashion, especially when it comes to buying specific brands or popular styles. On the other hand, some people take the choice of the right shoe for granted and are satisfied as long as the shoe fits or feels comfortable enough.
As adults, people may pay more attention to the appearance of shoes, but for children whose bodies are still rapidly changing and adapting, the situation is more complicated. Young wearers need shoes that not only require a good fit and comfort, but that also help their feet grow in the right way and avoid potential health problems that may arise later in their lives. Such shoes are often labeled as "therapeutic" and expensive, and the company, which developed the brand We/aver+, hopes to make such shoes more accessible and easier to make through 3D printing.
3D printing technology has certainly changed the way individuals live and even the traditional shoe manufacturing industry. This is because it makes it easier to design prototypes of new shoes and allows designers to have ideas that can quickly become reality. Recent developments have even allowed for the use of different kinds of materials when 3D printing forms and structures, giving creators more freedom in the designs they want to implement.
For example, they use 3D printing something similar to knitted fabric, except it uses stretchy TPU as the material. It prints shoes that actually look more like lockets than traditional fabrics, and not without reason. The skeletonized knit structure provides the shoe with the flexibility and support that children need during their developing feet. Materials manufactured through 3D printing that provide comfortable softness for the heel over time.
Therapeutic shoes, even before they are printed, use 3D modeling. By scanning a child's foot to generate a 3D model, the process takes only a few minutes. The 3D printed fabric that will be produced is then analyzed and determined on an individual basis to ensure the best thickness and shape is customized.
The end result is a pair of shoes that both feel great and look different. Because of its knitted construction, it is definitely easy to spot from the look of a designer shoe, giving it some unique identity. What's more, this nature is very soft and sturdy, while also providing vertical stability.
The shoes can be customized to the specific needs and requirements of the wearer, and they can be made from more sustainable materials such as recycled TPU. In the near future, when 3D printing becomes more widely available and accessible, both manufacturers and users will reap the benefits they want.