20 billion pairs of shoes are manufactured every year. One shoe can be composed of over 30 various materials, some of which are very hard or impossible to recycle. At the same time, up to 25 thousand liters of water is being used just to make one pair of shoes. For their graduation project at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Poland, design students Zuzanna Gronowicz and Barbara Motylinska decided to look for more eco-friendly shoe making tools that would also enable advanced product customization. They called it Shoetopia.
Single material printing on ZMorph proved to be successful for various types of flex filaments printed directly on wool and cotton. It enabled creating more flexible shanks and manufacture the whole shoe without gluing or sewing it together. The soles are based on parametric openwork structure, which requires less material in printing (with almost no support needed) while making them very durable. DUAL PRO extruder printed more intricate objects with soluble PVA support as well as added color gradients to them.
ZMorph multitool 3D printer was used to create prototypes and plan the entire production pipeline. It could also become the main tool in manufacturing market-ready customized shoes available through a dedicated app. Gronowicz and Motylinska continue to test and refine their idea and want to turn it into a business. The Shoetopia project made by two graduates of the Academy of Fine Arts stands out with its eco-friendly attitude, but the ability to design and 3D print truly unique shoes are the most exciting part of it.