Active Shoes

Active Shoe is a research project questioning the production method of a shoe: a 3D printer extrudes a line of plastic on a stretched fabric. The translucent, lightweight, and malleable properties of textiles have been utilized for centuries in apparel design. The Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is utilized in a minimal, reduced way to structure the fabric. By printing material of different layer thicknesses onto stretched textiles, we are able to create self-transforming structures that reconfigure into pre-programmed shapes. The 2D pattern «jumps» after cutting into a 3D shoe. Our research demonstrates a new method for utilizing textiles that can take advantage of their unique properties such as translucence, lightweight and malleability while reducing the complexity of forming processes. The FDM allows for different materials to be extruded with different properties to create simultaneously comfort and stability. Printing one shoe to fit every foot is a foreseeable scenario. Imagine using active materials to produce one-size-fits-all shoes, adaptive fit, and self-forming manufacturing processes. This technique would radically transform the production of footwear forever.

Carlo Clopath
Self-Assembly Lab, MIT