Customized shoe soles in silicone

German RepRap's new LAM technology enables 3D printing of silicone using materials from The Dow Chemical Company. With this technology, customized midsoles for shoes can be manufactured.

The desire for a perfect fit has been the focus of shoe design for centuries. Therefore, a project was launched by Innovation Lab ECCO under the name Quant-U to manufacture customized shoe soles with the worldwide first silicone 3D printer - the German RepRap LAM 3D printer (Liquid Additive Manufacturing). This scientific breakthrough offers the possibility to customize shoes with midsoles from data captured by portable sensors and 3D scanners and to create a complete digital analysis of individual feet and movements. The soles are automatically adapted to the wearer's unique biomechanical and orthopedic parameters, which promises a revolution with ultimate wearing comfort.

Using the LAM 3D printer and materials from The Dow Chemical Company, silicone is 3D printed, replacing most of the midsole polyurethane. Two years of research have clearly demonstrated the advanced properties of these 3D printed meshes, both in terms of visco-elastic performance and the unique properties of silicone in terms of load-bearing capacity and temperature stability. Parts created using this unique 3D printing process do not require any finishing or cleaning and offer a unique opportunity for direct retail production.

This showcase shows the multitude of possible applications of the German RepRap LAM technology and of course offers considerable advantages and new scope for development not only in the fashion industry, but can be used universally and in a wide variety of industries.


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