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3-D Printed Shoes: Quite the Feet

You can make anything from 3-D printing, from impossibly complex lamps to chain-mail bags to entire buildings. So it’s actually kind of surprising that 3-D printed shoes aren’t more common.

Pauline Van Dongen shoes

You can make anything from 3-D printing, from impossibly complex lamps to chain-mail bags to entire buildings. So it’s actually kind of surprising that 3-D printed shoes aren’t more common. Maybe someday soon: For her master’s thesis at ArtEZ in Arnhem, The Netherlands, Pauline Van Dongen created a line of high heels, dubbed Metamorphosis.

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Pauline Van Dongen shoes

The pieces were exhibited recently in a show in Amsterdam called “The Future of Fashion,” curated by Freedom of Creation, a Dutch outfit that specializes in 3-D printed design.

The shoes themselves are, like many 3-D printed objects, made of powdered nylon that has been slowly fused together, by a computer guided laser. As you can see on the heel and the forefoot, there’s a little bit of a platform flange–to give a bit of cushion on what’s normally a very stiff material.

Pauline Van Dongen shoes

It’ll probably take a few more years though before you see 3-D printed shoes in your local mall: Even small objects like these can run thousands of dollars per copy, unless the designer happens to own her own machine. But these are dropping in price at a crazy rate: What used to be hundreds of thousands of dollars a few years ago can now be had by the at-home tinkerer for as little as $5,000.

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About the author

Cliff was director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.

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