Chengxu Tian creates colourful footwear with raised injection-moulded patterns

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Chinese designer Chengxu Tian's Layering Movement collection of footwear features textured, stripy patterns created by injection moulding (+ slideshow).

Layering Movement by Chengxu Tian

Tian designed the collection during his masters course at London College of Fashion, after becoming interested in how 3D layering could be used in footwear design.

Layering Movement by Chengxu Tian

To create the range, the designer poured liquid PVC into a mould, before using an oven to heat it to a solid state. Fabric was then layered on top, and a pressing machine used to combine the two materials together.

Layering Movement by Chengxu Tian

The process can be used to create unusual surface textures that vary from shoe to shoe, as well as individual elements that can be placed as raised 3D patterns on the surface of the footwear.



The collection features a range of striped and semi-woven patterns, with different layers accentuated in bright contrasting colours. Designs range from high heels, to trainer-style footwear and slingbacks.

Layering Movement by Chengxu Tian

The designer worked with seven different Chinese factories to test and produce the shoes, designing a different mould for each piece of footwear.

Layering Movement by Chengxu Tian

"I wanted to use this opportunity to research how to push the boundaries of what is technically possible within a mass footwear production environment in China," said Tian, who hopes to sell the collection in the future.

Layering Movement by Chengxu Tian

3D printing has also been posed as an alternative to shoe production, and has been used by Troy Nachtigal to create personalised shoes for a Dutch politician. Also, footwear brand New Balance developed soles that can be printed to support an individual wearers' pace.

Layering Movement by Chengxu Tian

Other unusual shoe designs include Marloes ten Bhömer's conceptual high heels, and Kevlar footwear that wraps the foot like a sock.

  • James

    It’s about time fashion got fun and colourful again! Love these.

  • Betty

    The technique and technology used here is amazing, just wish the final outcomes had a touch more style.

  • Arsen Bezrukov

    If he worked with Chinese factories, the shoes may be already available.

  • Chengxu Tian

    Thanks for supporting my shoes! You’re welcome to follow my Instagram:chengxu_tian

  • James Bergman

    I’m really impressed that Chengxu Tian has used injection moulding to make his shoes. When I hear “injection moulding” I automatically think of any plastics around my house like hose fittings or the plastic rings holding up my shower curtain, not shoes. In any case, I hope these shoes do well, they are a little flashy for me though.