This parametric 3D printed sneaker is made entirely out of one single flexible material

Like Crocs, but infinitely cooler…

The Parametriks Print 001 sneaker makes clever use of design and material sciences to create a sneaker that’s comfortable, stylish, and easy to manufacture. Sort of like how crocks just use one material that’s injection-molded into the shape of a shoe, the Print 001 relies on 3D printing to fabricate its design… which was arrived at by using parametric algorithms.

Parametric Design involves the use of computational parameters that help guide the design process. In a lot of ways, it’s a collaborative design effort between human and computer, as the human sets the parameters and the computer comes up with a form that most efficiently fulfills those parameters. In the case of this shoe, Nathan Smith (also known by his Instagram moniker Parametriks) used a custom algorithm on Grasshopper to create a form that enveloped a foot perfectly while utilizing less material yet offering the same amount of flexibility.

The shoe/sneaker uses a rather intriguing triangular mesh matrix that warps right around the wearer’s foot, fitting it perfectly thanks to the shoe’s bespoke design. Made from TPU, the shoe is about as flexible as a pair of Crocs, while looking infinitely cooler and offering a level of breathability and flexibility that’s unmatched. Sure, the holes on the shoe’s sole open you up to pebbles, thorns, and water, but then again, this piece of footwear is purely experimental as it hopes to explore what a parametric piece of footwear can look like. I’d say I’m pretty happy with the visual results!

Together, 3D printing and parametric design could essentially revolutionize the footwear industry. 3D printing is increasingly being used by companies like Adidas to design forms that can’t be made through traditional manufacturing methods. Parametric design, on the other hand, involves using the wearer’s foot shape and size as a parametric input, so the computer knows what to wrap its material around. This allows footwear to be incredibly personal and unique to the wearer, making them just as, if not more comfortable than regular mass-manufactured shoes.

You can check out more of Nathan’s work on his Instagram.

Designer: Nathan Smith

The post This parametric 3D printed sneaker is made entirely out of one single flexible material first appeared on Yanko Design.

A Honda-incubated startup designed this genius in-shoe GPS navigation system that can guide the visually impaired

Designed to integrate right into the wearer’s shoe, the Ashirase uses a series of haptic ‘tickles’ to help guide the visually impaired as they walk, providing a much more intuitive and effective alternative to using a smartphone.

The Ashirase has a rather heartbreaking backstory. Honda EV-engineer Wataru Chino began working on the concept following the death of a slightly visually impaired relative under circumstances he deemed avoidable. Determined to come up with a much more effective solution to help the blind navigate roads freely and safely, Chino saw no alternative but to craft together a design solution. Honda even helped incubate the design and build the startup through its new-business incubation initiative, IGNITION.

Armed with one less sense, visually impaired pedestrians find it incredibly difficult to navigate to unknown destinations. With their limited senses occupied in concentrating on directions, they can often forget to pay attention to their surroundings or the roads, putting them in danger. The inverse is problematic too, because when they pay more attention to their immediate surroundings, they could in the process forget to follow the directions correctly and get lost. Chino’s solution helps the impaired concentrate on the road while also being able to intuitively receive directions in a less-distracting way. The wearable sits sandwiched between the foot and the wearer’s sneaker. This frees up the user’s hand to hold onto their walking cane (as opposed to their smartphone), and allows them to use their ears to sense their surroundings (instead of listening to audio directions).

The name Ashirase comes from the Japanese word ‘oshirase’, for notice/notification, as the in-shoe wearable helps notify the wearer while they walk, effectively guiding them through a series of vibrations. The in-shoe wearable comes in two parts – a silicone band that wraps around the foot, and an electronic ‘compass’ that provides the haptic feedback. Wearables on each foot help guide the user in any direction, guiding the wearer to their end-destination that’s fed into Ashirase’s smartphone app (which also decides the most optimal path for the wearer to take). The app currently runs on the Google Maps API, which provides a few limitations like needing the internet to work, and not being able to provide effective navigation indoors, although the company is already working on overcoming those drawbacks.

Chino’s startup plans on releasing a beta version of the Ashirase system in Japan in October or November of this year, where users will be provided with free versions of the wearable and the app for testing purposes. Following the public beta, Ashirase is gunning for a commercial-ready product by October 2022, with a subscription-based payment system that should cost somewhere between $18 to $27 (or 2000-3000 Yen).

Designer: Ashirase LLC (Wataru Chino)

Nike’s 2021 flagship football shoe is here and it draws inspiration from the swiftness of a dragonfly!

Dragonflies are ultra agile with the ability to propel themselves in any direction accelerating at 4 G linearly and 9 G – making sharp turns without loss of balance. That ability is attributed to the wing design of the insect with the flight muscles attached to the wing bases, making it hover in slow flight if need be. Nike Football Footwear Designer, Jeongwoo Lee took this natural structure of the dragonfly’s wings as inspiration for creating a lightweight Mercurial that football players have always dreamt of. On paper, the concept seems not as intriguing but the end result justifies the designer’s vision in a flurry of neon and metallic hues. A radical upgrade from 2019 Mercurial 360, this new boot design is the epitome of efficiency and lightweight aesthetics as the unnecessary elements have been shaved off for swift moves on the field.

The perfect example of Nike’s ideology “better is temporary ethos,” the new Mercurial Vapor 14 boot (a.k.a. Nike Mercurial Vapor/Superfly Dragonfly) is centered around four key areas – fit, touch, traction, and style. As Jeongwoo says, “We sought to create that same lightweight expression (of a dragonfly) with strategically placed materials for the new Mercurial. We think this is the future of speed and the kind of feel players have been asking for.” Adapting the unique design of dragonfly wings, the boot’s natural touch and upper feels just like the extension of the foot for swift acceleration and braking in any direction without loss in body balance. That’s attributed to the Nike Aerotrak plate for a springy feel. As Lee further exclaimed, “We’ve defined a brand-new kind of boot-to-ball touch. It’s tactile and grippy for control at high speeds, while also bringing flexibility at the same time”.

The Nike Mercurial Vapor 14 shoe has a premium lining where it’s needed, along with the Flyknit on top of the foot keeps you comfortable even after a long grueling match on the pitch. Combine that with the Vaporposite upper having a grippy lightweight mesh and you are all set for supreme control when the ball lands on your feet for the sublime touches. Nike has not shirked away from making this pair of soccer shoes to be absolutely flamboyant. To top it off, the shoes have the digital psychedelic palette drawing inspiration from the computer motherboards and become a way to celebrate the iconic Mercurials for the past 23 years!

Designer: Nike

This biodegradable shoe is crafted using waste materials and 3D knitting!

Sneaker culture has encouraged creativity but also added to a lot of waste since it is a part of fast fashion. Traditional sneakers have a short lifespan and with ‘drops’ increasing, people tend to buy and throw much faster. The complicated construction and the use of different materials (rubber, textile, various plastics, etc.) make these almost impossible and unprofitable to disassemble or recycle which is why Burfeind designed Sneature which is a sustainable sneaker alternative for the eco-conscious sneakerheads.

The shoe is crafted from many waste materials. The yarn made of dog hair (Chiengora) which is a biological waste being upcycled – this is innovation. Sneature is biodegradable as well! The design does take into account the functional requirements of a trainer and individual customization by the user. The process uses a 3D knitting technology that allows for customization and on-demand production while using the lowest possible energy consumption method.

The membrane is a protein-based 3D knit made from dog hair. It transports the functional properties of flexibility, stiffness, and air circulation with a very second-skin feel, similar to the sock sneaker style we’ve been seeing. These materials have natural properties that provide water absorption and release and anti-static properties. A thin layer of flexible bio-rubber/bioplastic forms the transition from the membrane to the sole. The junction of the membrane and sole is water-repellent against splashing or moisture from below awhile protecting the membrane in areas that quickly wear out. The transition also serves as a cushion and protects against rapid abrasion of all other areas in order to extend the lifespan of the shoe. The sole is made of mushroom mycelium which can be used as a composite material with local vegetable waste. The area is designed to be made of bioplastics which means this material can be produced at home or in a maker‘s lab like DIY materials.

“The sneaker was segmented into functional and structural areas (membrane, transition, sole) in order to implement the tested materials in a suitable way, taking into account the functional properties of the different areas. Because of the possible integration into an industrial production process, the membrane – the integrative core of the shoe – was created using a 3D-knitting technique. In order to approach the problem and conceptualize a solution, a fundamental factor for the ecological properties of every product – the material was examined. The design is based on a series of material experiments with natural raw fibers,” says Burfeind.

Designer: Emilie Burfeind

When Is a Shoe Not a Shoe? When It’s a Cake, Naturally.

I’ve heard the old expression “I’ll eat my hat” when betting on something improbable. But I’ve never heard anyone say “I’ll eat my shoe.” But I’d definitely eat my shoe if it were actually a delicious cake. Natalie of Sideserf Cake Studio has made some pretty epic cakes in her time, from hyperrealistic foods to nightmarishly creepy. Now, she’s made a cake that looks exactly like an adidas ZX 2K Boost sneaker.

Like most of her cakes, she made the structure from layers of cake and buttercream, then sculpted its exterior and sole from modeling chocolate. We love how she even accurately sculpted the tread pattern even though it’s mostly hidden underneath the cake. The video below shows off the full cake making process. While watching, I was actually ready to eat the shoe when it was just cake and buttercream.

Here’s a picture of the original shoe for comparison. Seriously, this cake is so accurate that if she wasn’t careful, she might try and put her foot into her dessert.

These modern sneakers are made from 98% plant-based materials

Corn, rubber, eucalyptus, and cork. These are the unlikely materials that come together to make the Kengos Lace-Up – a chic, clean, modern-looking sneaker that’s designed to safely biodegrade after you’re done with it.

The Lace-Up makes a very ambitious claim of being 98% natural and plant-based, making it environment-friendly and vegan-friendly too. Its aesthetic is guided by the materials used in it, resulting in a sneaker that looks distinctly unique. On top, you’ve got an upper made from Amaize, a corn-based fabric that’s hardy-yet-breathable. The upper body is lined on the inside with eucalyptus fabric, allowing the sneakers to regulate temperature, absorb sweat, and cool you down in the heat. The Lace-Up’s midsole comes made out of cork, which molds to the shape of one’s foot almost like a foam insert… and the outsole comes crafted from Kengos’ patent-pending Pure-Flex rubber, which is durable as a work-boot, but biodegrades nearly 35-times as fast.

Kengos is currently beta-testing their shoes, allowing a small group of people to purchase them and wear them for a period of 30 days. After a month, Kengos takes your feedback using a questionnaire and a small interview with its founders, and sends you a second pair of shoes for free when the Lace-Up line officially launches in November. When you buy a pair of shoes, not only do you become a part of Kengos’ effort to truly build something driven by real customer feedback, you also support a company with a goal of making products that are sustainable, environmentally friendly, and least impact the earth.

Designer: Dave Costello (Kengos)

This slip-on shoe is custom made for your foot, with a single wrap-around surface

The Walk Of Mind shoes are centered around a technology that allows users to get custom shoes made based on scans of their feet. Its slip-on design comes with a unique visual and tactile experience, appearing as well as feeling lightweight. The shoe’s light appearance can be attributed to the fact it looks quite like a feather or leaf wrapped around your foot, and the absence of the traditional thick sole found in shoes and sneakers makes it look/feel sleek and lightweight.

The slip-on is a combination of multiple materials, including the leather wraparound and an SLS 3D printed nylon sole that fits into it. The sole, designed specifically for each foot, comes with a bespoke pebbled surface that applies pressure on specific areas of the foot to relieve pressure, provide support, and give you a comfortable walking experience without the fatigue. What’s really unique about the Walk Of Mind footwear is the fact that its monosurface design and transitions seamlessly from sole to foot-cover. This means the shoe could essentially be flat-packed for more efficient shipping, or even have one shoe nested within another to create a much smaller package than with traditional footwear. Would be fun to see a video of a working prototype!

The Walk Of Mind shoes are a winner of the A’ Design Award for the year 2020.

Designer: Hadar Slassi

How to buy sneakers for the hypebeast in your life

It's hard enough to find gifts for your loved ones during the holidays, but hypebeasts in particular are a picky bunch. They only want the most hyped products and the rarest sneakers, which can be a complicated world to navigate as a shopper if you'r...

Nike will drop exclusive, limited-edition sneakers inside ‘NBA 2K20’

Those of you who are into NBA 2K know that, for years, you've been able to buy sneakers from different brands for your virtual player in the game. But now, thanks to a new partnership between Nike and software publisher 2K Sports, you'll have a chanc...