Oct 11, 2017 | By Tess

Students from the China Academy of Fine Arts, the Zhejiang Univeristy, and the Zhejiang University of Technology have teamed up with footwear brand 98HT to rethink the architecture of the high-heeled shoe. By using 3D printing, the collaborative team is developing modular shoes with switchable heels of varying heights.

It’s not just a girly cliché that wearing high heels sucks. Though they look fabulous and can give the illusion of killer calves, towering shoes often take a pretty dreadful toll on the wearer’s feet, especially if you’re on your feet for hours of the day.

Fortunately, the solution hasn’t been to phase out high heels altogether—how dull would getting dressed up be without them?—but to innovate and offer more comfortable solutions for the fashionable footwear.

One such effort is coming out of China, where a team of students from three universities has partnered with 98HT, a high-heel design and manufacturing company, to rethink and redesign heeled women’s shoes.

Through the collaboration, the students—under the leadership of Dr. Li Xiangqing—came up with a number of hand-drawn concepts for a modular shoe with convertible heels, which would give the wearer an on-the-go way of changing from 4” pointy heels to say a 1” block heel without having to switch shoes.

The concept is not a wholly new one, as a number of startups (such as Mime et moi, for instance) have gone after the same notion of convertible heels—but the China-based effort is notable for its use of 3D printing.

Basically, the students gave a hand-made model of their convertible heel to the team at Shining 3D, one of China’s leading 3D printing companies, which 3D scanned the shoe with its EinScan Pro device.

With the 3D scan complete, Dr. Li Xiangqing and his team were sent the 3D model to look over and tweak before it was sent to Shining 3D’s SLA 3D printer for production.

Once the 3D printed shoe was complete, the team assembled the heel and conducted a number of force tests on it and measured the physical impact on the shoe using 3D scanning. By using 3D scanning and printing rather than more traditional molding processes, the team was able to save on both time and development costs.

Currently, the 3D printed convertible heels are in their final development stage, and 98HT says it plans to mass-produce the modular shoes once this stage is complete. The innovative shoe design has already been recognized, however, as it took home the gold medal at a young college student’s entrepreneurial competition in Ningbo this year.

The collaborative team has also amassed one state patent, one patent in Hong Kong, and eight other patents for the shoe’s modular design.

Down the line, the team says it hopes to apply its design and manufacturing technology for the creation of personalized high heels. In other words, they would use 3D scanning and printing to create fully custom-fit and styled footwear.

Another direction the team might go in is to develop smart shoes for children with embedded communication and positioning devices that would allow parents to keep track of their children and worry less about losing them.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Gerd Schwaderer wrote at 10/18/2017 10:45:11 PM:

Sweet! I don't have to walk in them, but what a proof of the endless possibilities

Nasser Djaouani wrote at 10/12/2017 1:27:29 PM:

I'm Designer3D Look my projet of heels jewelry 2016. Impression 3D and accessory's. tried the heels in virtual reality before buying https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/fashion-show-vr-nasser-djaouani/

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