Multiple students in China have recently teamed up with the footwear brand 98HT to look at the architecture of some high-heeled shoes. Using 3D printing the team is developing modular shoes with switchable heels that vary in height. Although high heels look great they can put quite the toll on the consumer’s feet, especially if they are walking around in them for hours of the day. The solution to this problem has not been to get rid of high heels but to create a more comfortable solution for the fashionable footwear. The students, who come from 3 different universities, are trying to redesign heeled women’s shoes with the manufacturing company 98HT. Under the leadership of Dr. Li Xiangqing, the students came up with numerous hand-drawn concepts for a modular shoe with convertible heels. The shoes allow the wearer to change the heels from 4 inches to 1 inch while on the go; no need to switch shoes!
Other companies have looked into interchangeable heels, but this is the first one to try it with 3D printing. The students gave a model of their heel to Shining 3D, one of China’s leading 3D printing companies, who scanned the shoe with an EinScan Pro. With the 3D scan complete the model was tweaked and then sent to an SLA 3D printer to be created. Using 3D printing instead of traditional processes it saved both time and development costs. The 3D printed heels are in their final stage, and 98HT plans to mass-produce them once they are complete. Down the road, the team plans to apply its design and manufacturing technology towards personalized high heels. They would be able to use 3D scanning and printing to create fully custom fit and styled shoes.