Assa Ashuach of London-based Assa Studio Limited may not be a household name, but the designer has been at the forefront of additive manufacturing 3D printing since the early 2000s, invited by the likes of Nike, Samsung, and IDEO for his innovative approach with novel materials and utilization of pioneering fabrication methods. His latest project – the Evolve Footwear Collection – is characteristic of Ashuach’s embrace of the speculative, this time leading at the forefoot of footwear.
A “biometric evolutionary” gel midsole shoe embedded with network of 3D-printed sensors, the various prototype iterations of the Evolve look less like typical athletic footwear and more like something grown from a petri dish (or perhaps even a form inspired by this transparent-domed denizen of the deep).
The matrix of sensors are positioned to collect step-by-step biofeedback, not only to improve the wearer’s own fit, but also to inform and shape future iterations as the shoe’s namesake communicates.
The shoe itself is made from thousands of gel particles manufactured by Sratasy, a multi-density polymer engineered to tailor cushioning to the gait and weight of its wearer. It’s also an ideal material for embedding with sensors to gather specific data.
Ashuach imagines the Evolve or its eventual successors to be equipped to inform its wearer of changes in weight, foot strike, or other indicators communicated by the weight distribution during movement or at a standstill, creating a “dialogue between the physical and virtual” – a category of wearables that is surely guaranteed to evolve into a mainstream option for athletes and the public alike.
By Gregory Han