Oct. 2, 2014 | By Alec

Lately we've been seeing more and more indications that 3D printing technology is slowly creeping towards our wardrobes as well. After all, 3D printed accessories are slowly becoming a stable in printing experiments and on-demand services like Shapeways, while 3D printed clothes are venturing out on fashion runways as well.

But recently, the Seattle-based company Pensar (Italian for 'to think') has been working on a far bolder step. They have developed a concept for DNA shoes: 3D printed footware that has been modified to not only fit your own feet precisely, but also to suit any athletic requirements you might have. As the company stated on their website, 'What if your shoe was based on your anatomy + biomechanics?'

Pensar is an award-winning Research and Development company that focusses on (technological) product development. They work with various large and small businesses and start-ups; as they stated on their website 'technologies, manufacturing processes, trends and markets are constantly evolving. We guide our clients through the development process to help them navigate this continually changing environment.'

And they have now targeted their 3D printing experience at footware, though this project has been expected for a while; we first reported their initial intentions in May 2013. Since then, they have fortunately moved to a point where they can actually print individual footwear.

As they stated on their website, the idea behind it consists of transferring your personal DNA to your wardrobe. 'The DNA concept leverages rapid manufacturing to create a shoe built not only to your foot contours, but also to how you move.'

It therefore all begins with a 3D scan of your foot, combined with data acquisition – 'A sensor shoe tracks your details as you do a test run'- and user behaviour – 'Are you running or doing cross-fit?'. Their algorithm will used the collected data to develop a custom pair of shoes for you that can be printed within hours. Your unique pair of shoes are given shape using a Stratasys Objet500 Connex3 3D printer that uses resin. And theoretically, the can have any color you want as this Stratasys machine is capable of multicolour 3D printing.

This comic explains the theoretical steps towards getting your very own DNA shoes.

While these shoes look absolutely amazing – and as they're tailor-made, they probably feel that way as well – they're not available yet. Funnily enough, the Pensar team has posted images of their shoes along with their profiles, and sketchbook fanatic Alex Diener looks to be the only wearer of these cool shoes for now.

This project seems to be, above all, an exercise into the future possibilities of custom 3D printing and the modifiable footwear. But we will likely have to wait a while before this futuristic footwear becomes a reality.

The printer in action.

The costs involved, for one, are still far too high to make this a viable and marketable option. The resin alone for a pair of shoes will easily cost you $300,00, and then the investments in hardware, software and expertise still need to be covered, so this is shaping up to be a very exclusive pair of designer shoes. But my feet can't wait.

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

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anon wrote at 10/2/2014 5:42:31 PM:

If they used a FDM printer, the cost would be very feasible.

nazi wrote at 10/2/2014 1:28:19 PM:

I think, you might mean "staple" instead of "stable".

Inigo wrote at 10/2/2014 9:54:23 AM:

Just a detail: "Pensar" is to think in spanish, in italian it's "Pensare" Nice article!

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