Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) of consumer products has more progress to be made, but at the same time has come a long way. Currently, it helps provide highly customized and exclusive products rather than one that is mass-produced. 3D printed shoes are futuristic, natural, and complex forms such as the generative shoe collection that was introduced by Ica & Kostika. The company is a Portland-based design studio which highlights the fusion of fashion design and technology. They do this with exclusive made-to-order production while focusing on computational innovation. The boutique’s online portal presents four collections, each available on-demand, in different styles that are both metal and plastic.
The designs are inspired by sea life and life-bearing structures and include Coral, Seahorse, Mycelium, and Spine. The Spine DIY is a wearable shoe sculpture that manipulates the vertebrae of the spine to create a continuous form along the foot. The plastic version is 3D printed using a selective laser sintering process. The metal version is 3D printed in steel, using a binder jetting process and laser infused with bronze, creating a shoe that is 60% steel and 40% bronze. The black finish gives the material a dark grey to black look. They are quite a sight to behold and are a good example of the potential 3D printing can provide for the footwear industry.
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