Last year I covered a Kickstarter for a company called UTLab. At that time UTLab was trying to raise money for a sneaker made out of a highly durable paper, yes…PAPER. It was at that point I brought up the company to a friend that happens to be an engineer and it sparked a conversation about 3d Printing. He explained how he used this machine to make a house for his son’s dog and I asked if it could be used to make a sneaker for which he replied YES! Intrigued by the possibilities of pumping out my own shoes I started looking more into the technology and its capabilities. Fast forward to January of this year and PC Mag ran a story on a company called Stratasys. At that point Stratasys made headlines by creating a machine called the Objet500 Connex3 Color Multi-material 3D Printer (the first and only machine that combines color with multi-material 3D printing). In the article, there was a shoe with Adidas’s famous Trefoil logo on the ankle and at that point you could just imagine the impact this would have on the future of the footwear industry. As of right now this machine costs $330,000.00. So, if you were thinking of getting one for the crib so you can print up a bunch of dope kicks, think again, that is of course you “got it like that”. No, for now you can buy a semi affordable 3d Printer and print up some toys or maybe a prototype for a helmet with printers from MakerBot. Anyhow, back to sneakers and 3d printing. So most recently there’s been a lot of talk about Filaflex (wonder how FILA feels about that name) which is an elastic filament used in 3d Printing with one of its uses being for footwear. The filament was used to make the shoes below
Images Via Recreus
and its got us thinking this: Sneaker companies have to be at least a little worried that in the not so distant future every individual with a 3d printer (and we’re talking at the point in which the technology has really been perfected and adopted by the average person) could take their favorite shoe and replicate it. Sure, brands would still be able to generate money but I would liken this much to the current state of the music industry. Anything a person really wanted to create they could and for cheap. Imagine a day where you didn’t have to worry about camping out for a pair of Yeezy 2’s because all you would need to do is download some blue prints on how to print an exact recreation of the original shoe, put it in the printer, gather all the materials and your good to go. Want your Jordan VI’s with that OG shape and material complete with the Nike Air? Or maybe you prefer the 2014 infrared shape and materials. No problem. ‘enterwebsite’ has the program. Imagine you could visit a site with tons of blue prints for every shoe you ever wanted and it was just a click away. As far fetched as that may sound today, its something the footwear industry really needs to think about long term. The way people beg you to listen to their mixtape now, could turn into please bro try on my shoe’s their hot see, can you see this, are you seeing? Buy my shoe. With that being said, check out the video below and then let us know what you think about this technology and how it will impact the footwear industry in the future by voting below!