‘Shoetopia’ Makes 3D Sneakers Biodegradable

Barbara Motylińska and Zuza Gronwicz’s biodegradable 3D sneaker

According to Designboom, Polish design students Barbara Motylińska and Zuza Gronwicz are challenging the sneaker industry by creating 3D sneakers that biodegrade. The only materials used are either natural textiles or flexible, biodegradable filaments. With around 20 billion pairs of shoes produced each year, and 300 million pairs thrown out annually, the duo set out to create a sustainable production chain that seeks to do less damage to the planet using 3D-printing techniques.

Designers trying to reinvent fashion with a tech twist seem to be trending right now with brands large and small jumping on the kicks bandwagon. Adidas is leading the way with spider silks and ocean plastic while Nike’s Flyknit and the company now making most of its shoes from its own garbage is equally impressive.

Image: Nike

But a new batch of young designers that are off the beaten path in terms of name recognition could be the next crop of sustainable design initiatives. Designboom writes that Motylińska and Gronwicz’s ‘Shoetopia’ project was able to highlight a growing space where brands are trying to fuse fashion and tech. Their spin on it? The duo created a biodegradable sneaker that can be modified via an app.

“The personalized design is then transformed into a print file, which can be sent directly to a local 3D printing center or private printer owner. The concept reinvents the wheel by reducing waste due to over production, and puts the customer in the driving seat by letting them request exactly the design they want,” writes Designboom.

To learn more about the Shoetopia project, go here.

To learn more about how brands are taking on sustainable strategies, check out our Sustainable Fashion Roadmap tool.