The footwear industry is no stranger to 3D printing. Many shoe designers use the technology to experiment with prototypes and help visualize new – and often cutting-edge – designs. But how can 3D printing – also called additive manufacturing – be used in other parts of the industry, such as manufacturing and production?
This is the focus of a recent article in Compass, The Right Fit.
Could 3D printing allow for the easy manufacturing of personalized footwear? This is a goal for many. It’s no secret that people’s feet are not all the same. We all have had that pair of shoes that we like that doesn’t fit quite right, but we bear it because – well, what choice do we have? According to recent research conducted by New-York based SOLS, 63% of those who buy its products had been wearing an incorrect shoe size.
3D printing could alleviate that compromise between comfort and fashion. And it’s not just the fit that can be easily adjusted, but consumers can change features at little to no cost.
Another benefit? Virtually eliminating industrial waste, since 3D printing involves adding layers of materials rather than cutting them out. It can also address other issues in the footwear industry, such as creating too much inventory and manufacturing imperfections.
But no one claims this will easy or a quick migration. Check out the full article to read more about the pros and cons of 3D printing in footwear, and then come tell us: are you looking forward to the day when you can design your own shoes, or would you rather stick with the ease of the traditional footwear shopping process?
Images © Julien Fournié and © SOLS