Liquid Printed Natives
Posted on Monday, January 06 2020 05:04:00 PM in News by Charlie White
Being made of materials such as leather or single-use plastics, shoes are a product that definitely needs a more sustainable solution. Some companies use plastic water bottles, or renewable materials such as trees, merino wool, and recycled cardboard. Canadian company Native Shoe is creating a shoe-making process from the ground up. Cofounder Thomas Claypool states they are always looking for cutting edge and futuristic methods of manufacturing. Native Shoes has partnered with MIT’s self-assembly lab and the Emily Carr University of Art and Design to come up with a patented method of 3D printing two of its most popular designs. Calling it Liquid Printed Natives, the Vancouver-based company’s newest type of shoe seems to magically emerge from the depths of a clear gel bath.
First, the shoes are designed on a computer, then printed directly into a container carrying a reusable, water-based gel formula. The shoe material itself is liquid and viscous, but its most important element is that it can be printed without the use of any excess material. The 3D printing aspect allows for easily customizable shoes. Native is working on technology so people can take 3D scans of their feet either in stores or through an app. The data can then be directly inputted into its liquid printing program. The material used to make the liquid-printed shoes is partially made of recycled EVA, or ethylene vinyl acetate, a flexible, rubbery material also used in making of Native’s injection-molded shoes. The 3D printed shoes take a bit longer to make than the injection-molded variety, but it is much faster for the former.