Customizable and sustainable footwear 3D printed with Filaflex MMS structures
'One Shoe' is a project by Davide Amorim that creates a new concept of footwear by tackling two major problems, personalization and sustainability.
Essentially, people are all different. However, people with the same foot size, but with different body weight, or foot shape, often wear the same shoes.
By making use of Mechanical Meta-material structures (MMS), it is possible to create a sole that not only fits a person's foot’s needs but also makes it easy to recycle. MMS allows achieving multi-properties within one material compound (e.g stiff, soft or responsive deformation). This results in benefits for both users (personalization) and society (sustainability). Let's get to know this interesting project!
Davide Amorim, Portuguese, with an MSc in Industrial Design from TU Eindhoven (TU/e), interested in exploring the combination of emerging technologies aiming to translate their potential into products that seamlessly empower people’s lives. This week we had the opportunity to meet the Portuguese industrial designer, Davide Amorim and talk about his interesting, personalized and mono-material ‘one shoe’ project and his experience with Filaflex. A great example of how material is the protagonist and how thanks to it different hardnesses shore can be developed to create custom footwear..
How did you get interested in 3D Printing?
Since I was interested in exploring product personalization, 3D printing, allowed me to explore several ideas without the constraints in prototyping or eventually in future manufacturability of those ideas. 3D printing manufacture versatility sparked my interest to study more deeply this field.
Tell us about your project ‘one shoe’
‘One shoe’ is a concept, personalized and mono-material shoe. It aims to attend a person’s body needs, inspire the designing of more eco-friendly footwear, and show the innovative potential on both aesthetics and function of shoes, without on mean the sacrifice of the other.
“The end value of the project is to show, both people and industry, the benefits of what a personalized and mono-material shoe could have on our society, also from an ecological point of view”.
How did it come about?
This project started from an exploration I conducted on Mechanical Metamaterials Structures (MMS) (a.k.a. smart structures or 3D lattices). It evolved into the field of footwear through the question: ‘how could we use MMS to create shoes that followed the natural deformation of a person’s feet?’. The idea was to explore in footwear these structures with the goal to create footwear that would protect the foot, adapt to its needs, and ‘give the feeling’ of walking on barefoot, even though you would be wearing a shoe.
What is its differential value?
Its differential value is on the combination of several technologies: MMS, generative design, additive manufacturing while embedding user’s data throughout the process to designing the shoe. The result is a product made of one material with multi-properties (i.e stiffness variation in different areas of the sole and responsive behavior to the foot dynamics).
In Recreus, our values are REcycle, CREate and USe, in your case, do you consider that your project ‘one shoe’ is influenced or motivated by the #zerowaste culture?
Definitely! The end value of the project is to show, both people and industry, the benefits of what a personalized and mono-material shoe could have on our society, also from an ecological point of view. I think projects such as this could bring awareness to people on the importance of bespoke products to match their bodies’ needs. I believe that custom made products might not be discarded by a person as fast as a non-bespoke product. There is a certain emotion value attached to a product that was made specifically for a person, which can make him/her take better care of the product. Hence contributing to long-lasting use of that product and possibly reducing a consuming mindset of people.
Do you believe that this point of view could penetrate in the industry, too?
Absolutely! It could show them how the combination of all these emerging technologies could lead to a disruptive future in the footwear design mindset. Currently, shoes are made from several materials (e.g. different foams, rubbers or leathers) that most of the time preclude shoe recycling. The combination of several materials in current footwear is often related to performance and aesthetics. However, the combined use of MMS with 3D printing opens the doors to explore new mono-materials shoes in ways previously unimaginable.
How and when did you discover Filaflex and how was your experience with this material?
Filaflex is a material very famous at the department of Industrial Design at TU/e. Especially on the Wearable Senses Lab., students use it on the most variety of projects. It was mainly from projects of the Ph.D. Troy Nachtigall, that I got introduced to Filaflex and started to use it in my research to test samples and eventually built one of the final prototypes. The experience with Filaflex was good. The material is great to explore footwear in general. Very elastic, flexible, and strong. For exploration purposes it suited very well my needs.
What does Filaflex bring to your ‘one shoe’ project?
A material such as Filaflex brings the opportunity to prototype, test, and communicate to others the intentions and potential of my ideas. It allowed people to understand what and why ‘one shoe’ is relevant.