CAIT MONAHAN AND SOFIA DE LA CRUZ
Future-facing footwear releases of late share a common thread: they are bringing striking modular concept designs to IRL. Aided by innovations in 3D printing, footwear designers are breaking manufacturing boundaries and constraints, allowing for deeply creative silhouettes and sustainable solutions to materials. Though functionality will always be at the forefront of IRL footwear design, can inspirations from digital concepts create new modes to experience kicks?
“For so many years 3D printing has been a means of prototyping but now it’s wearable and functional. Clog/croc/foam runner [silhouettes] and aesthetic trends are colliding with traditionally made sneakers. So much of mainstream footwear the past years has been retros and revamps of nostalgic models but people are ready for a change.”
“Footwear now is built in 3D renders and its quite modular and minimalistic. We are witnessing a new digital aesthetic that is influencing the physical world with unexplored materials and shapes. As technology develops, we’ll have more creative materials, lights and screens on our products but now things are changing purely from a design aesthetic.”
“Accessories, especially shoes, are practically only designed with digital software and the technology now allows us to produce an actually wearable, comfortable and customized shoe in a 3D printing process.”
“It's been fun creating these digital encounters - and asking questions around how we can experience fashion and footwear. I brought the 3D scan of my head onto a pair of customized shoes called The Crypto Shoes which are part of the permanent collection at the Virtual Shoes Museum.”
“It's exciting to see how new technology is creating a new aesthetic in footwear. I love it because it's taking a lot of things from sustainability to manufacturing and making it accessible, which is fantastic.”
“We want our physical creations to have a function and in the virtual ecosystem, our shoes are no longer something you use to cover your feet, they are a dimension to explore one’s identity. We hope in the future we can have access to new technology that can make our craziest visions for footwear come true.”