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Startups introduce 3D printed shoes

Industry News | July 17, 2023 | By:

UAE-based 3D printed footwear startup ELASTIUM has introduced its first 3D printed sneakers made from 100 percent recyclable foam. The sneakers incorporate a novel lattice-structured low-density thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) foam material. This foam is manufactured using ELASTIUM’s proprietary granulate extrusion 3D printing technology. The sneakers prioritize both comfort and resilience, with a softness similar to Crocs and a cushioning capability comparable to high-performance sneakers. 

Elastium 1 sneakers are completely 3D printed with a proprietary technology. Photo: Elastium.

“Traditional shoe manufacturing is extremely slow, capital-intensive, and unsustainable. 22 out of 23 billion pairs of shoes produced each year end up in landfills, where they may take hundreds of years to decompose,” Robert Karklinsh, Founder and CEO of Elastium, said. “We are redefining footwear production making it rapid, on-demand, localized and sustainable. We are also democratizing the footwear industry by providing a platform for individual creators and brands which will eventually make footwear production as easy as publishing an app on the App Store.”

Munich-based startup SNEAKPRINT has launched customized 3D printed shoes manufactured employing conventional craftsmanship in Europe. To mark its market entry, SNEAKPRINT introduces the RetroTechV1 sneaker, which draws inspiration from sporty and retro designs. This sneaker is offered in nappa leather, or a nappa/suede leather combination. 

Each pair is available only in the company’s “ME-Size,” individually customized to the customer’s feet. As part of the process, each new customer is provided with the SNEAKPRINT imprint kit to digitize their feet at home. SNEAKPRINT uses that data to develop a precisely fitting midsole manufactured using 3D printing. 

By leveraging 3D printing, the company says it can produce intricate shapes and structures that are not achievable through conventional manufacturing methods, and it enables faster, and more sustainable production. 

ATHOS, a sportswear start-up based in Spain, has launched a collection of 3D printed climbing shoes. Developed in collaboration with HP and Sculpteo, an online 3D printing bureau, this introduction is the first of its kind, says the company. Alexandre D’Orsetti, CEO of Sculpteo said, “Mass customization allows ergonomics that seemed inaccessible in climbing, and ATHOS custom-made slipper fits the foot perfectly providing comfort when climbing.” 

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