Sep 21, 2015 | By Kira

Being constantly surrounded by looming skyscrapers, highways, shopping malls, offices, and an endless variety of screens and tech gadgets, it would seem as though the modern city-dweller is as far removed from nature as could be. And yet, even today’s most futuristic creations get their inspiration from the intricacies and agelessly beautiful designs of Mother Nature herself. High-tech design company United Nude’s latest 3D printed shoe is designed to look like a frosty block of ice, is a testament to the everlasting beauty to be found in nature.

United Nude partnered once again with 3D Systems to design and print the 21 cm (8”) tall wedges, which would make any wearer feel like a veritable Ice Queen. Each shoe is 3D printed out of three individual pieces on a CubePro printer using PLA material, plus a stitched leather strap.

By now, United Nude and 3D Systems have made a name for themselves in the high-fashion 3D printed shoe industry. Their previous projects include collaborations with Iris van Herpen and with Francis Bitonti, which resulted in the beautiful gold and black, algorithmically-determined 3D printed Mutatio shoe; the Float shoe collection built on compact, desktop 3D printers; and the ‘Re-Inventing Shoes’ project, a major collaboration between five well-known architects and designers who came together to create the most out-of-this world 3D printed shoes you could imagine.

Ultimately, their goal is to explore and push the boundaries of this technological phenomenon, using sculptural freedom and digital materials to create radically different, high quality, and customizable 3D printed shoes.

“The 3D printing technology allows us to experiment with new shapes much quicker than before, without big development costs and for very small quantities,” said Rem D Koolhaas, creative director of United Nude. “Designing and making a unique shoe for a special occasion was never this easy before. The shoe is a real showpieces with a solid wow factor. I have to admit I really like this immediate way of working!”

By using compact Cube 3D printers, United Nude is also opening the doors to creating sculptural shoes at home with entry-level desktop 3D printers. “In recent years we have made fully functional 3D printed finished shoes…but we never designed a fully functional 3D printed shoe that was made with an entry level desktop printer,” said Koolhaas, referring to the 3D Systesm Cube 3D printer. “This new $999 printer is a very compact and easy to use machine, but to print something that’s actually bigger than its printable footprint needed a lot of thought and creativity.”

While we can’t vouch for how comfortable the Ice Block shoe really is (and certainly wouldn’t recommend wearing them in an actual ice storm), its impressive design and imposing 21 cm of height demonstrate the unique aesthetic qualities that 3D printing brings to the fashion industry and architectural footwear. 


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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Feign wrote at 9/22/2015 11:06:45 PM:

I think the resemblance is in the designer saying they were meant to resemble it and everyone else just parroting that. High fashion and critical reporting aren't exactly known for their compatibility. And I know it didn't look like a horse before yru pointed it out but now that he has I just can't unsee it.

yru wrote at 9/21/2015 10:45:31 PM:

looks more like a pony

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