A footwear company, Soak, is teaming up with a startup that makes 3D printers with the purpose of manufacturing shoes. Cobbler Technologies will start printing the soles of Soak’s designs this year. The company will still make some soles the traditional way, but this method will allow modifications to be made quickly and easily. You have to be sure to create a printer that can use materials that are traditionally used for shoe soles, such as rubber and foam. The cost of production this way is comparable to conventional injection-mold technology. The traditional method requires individual molds to be made for each model of the shoe as well as every shoe size available. With 3D printed shoes, production is more adaptable and changes can be made more quickly. Rather than making new molds to accommodate for slight changes, a 3D printer can do that overnight. Soak finds it important to be able to use materials that can be recycled and used that fast.
The company was started by Michelle Vale and Elena Corsano after reaching their fundraising goal. It can take longer to make a lot of shoes using 3D printing, so it helps to still have the traditional method available for faster output. The ability to fit an inventory gap or tweak a design using a 3D printer will definitely help. It also gives Soak the ability to create private-label sandals under other brand names. Working with Cobbler also helps the company make sandals in the U.S. because they are not currently looking to move production overseas. The goal of the Cobbler is to develop 3D printers for other applications and then sell or lease them. But 3DShoes.com is excited to see the footwear applications.
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