Have you checked out the fully 3D-printed and infinitely recyclable sneakers?

With this new sneaker idea, designer Heron Preston has opened up new perspectives on how to make shoes that are more local, ethical and eco-responsible

Published: Oct 6, 2021 01:02:52 PM IST
Updated: Oct 21, 2021 09:44:59 AM IST

The very first fully 3D-printed shoes available to the public, by Heron Preston and Zellerfeld.
Image: Courtesy of Heron Preston / Zellerfeld


While most of the fashion industry is turning to gaming, NFTs or new virtual worlds, Heron Preston is innovating with a different type of technology: 3D printing. The designer has unveiled the first pairs of fully 3D-printed sneakers available to the public, opening up new perspectives on how to make shoes that are more local, ethical and eco-responsible.

While it may only be a beta launch that Heron Preston is offering today, it still hints at major evolutions—or revolutions—coming in the fashion world. Here, forget about traditional manufacturing methods, as the multi-talented artist Heron Preston has turned to US technology company Zellerfeld to design the first-ever pair of sneakers that are 3D printed and available to the public. But the designer doesn't stop there, as the shoes in question can be endlessly recycled, allowing anyone to trade in their worn-out pairs for new ones printed in updated versions.

One pair of sneakers, for life?

While the very fact of putting a pair of 3D-printed sneakers on sale is evidently revolutionary, the new method developed by Zellerfeld and Heron Preston—remotely, due to the pandemic—is undoubtedly even more so, making it possible to imagine one day having a minimalist, and therefore environmentally friendly wardrobe that could be renewed endlessly. And this is not science fiction.

Named "HERON01," hinting at more versions to come, the sneaker was manufactured without setting foot in a factory and with no supply chain, reducing its production time. Created from a single material, the shoe has no seams, contains no glue or other toxic materials, and is fully recyclable. The owners of these new-generation sneakers have the option of returning their used sneakers to see them transformed into new pairs, in potentially updated styles reflecting the trends of the moment. And while it may sound futuristic, this concept is well and truly anchored in reality.

"The Heron01 is just the beginning. With additive manufacturing, the potential is unlimited. I was able to design and print functional and evolving prototypes in hours—with traditional manufacturing, this would have taken months. I can't wait to print more shoes and updates," said Heron Preston in a statement.

Making made-to-measure more accessible

The workwear-inspired sneakers can be printed in standard sizes, but can also be custom-fit based on a foot scan carried out with nothing more than an iPhone. Made-to-measure footwear could therefore become accessible to anyone and everyone. The HERON01 is available as of today, Tuesday, October 5, via the Campaign for a Cause program on the StockX platform, where participants enter a raffle by making a $10 donation.

Lucky winners will be able to access Zellerfeld's beta program, which will allow them to one day exchange their worn-out shoes for newer versions, free of charge. Note that proceeds from StockX's Campaign for a Cause will be donated to Global March, a charity that fights child labor in supply chains. 




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