As amazing as 3D printers are, they haven't nailed 3D fashion yet. 3D-printed dresses and shoes are still pretty darn uncomfortable to wear mostly because they're made from rock-hard plastic filaments. But that could all change thanks to a new elastic filament.
The Sneakerbot II is a 3D-printed sneaker inspired by popular '80s sci-fi movies such as Back to the Future and Star Wars. Designed by Recreus founder Ignacio Garcia, the Sneakerbot II uses his company's new Filaflex 1.75mm, a filament so bendable, the sneaker can actually be folded up and stuffed right into your jeans pocket (see video below for demo). In fact, they might just be the comfiest and most compact pair of 3D-printed sneakers ever created.
While the skeptic in us is concerned about cushioning and shock absorbance, at the very least, these flexible rubbery shoes could make for some decent rain shoes to fit over normal shoe or sneakers. And of course, they'll easily fit in your bag once folded up.
One of the problems with 3D-printing objects with elastic filament is that it often gets tangled during the printing process. Combined with a custom extruder and stainless steel hotend, Garcia says he's solved the tangling issue.
At last, 3D-printed fashion is finally moving closer to being a viable reality. Want your own pair of these funky sneakers? You'll need to pick up Garcia's custom extruder and hotend, some Filaflex 1.75mm, and then fire up your 3D printer to print your own using the free 3D file available on Thingiverse. Ahh, the beauty of 3D printing.