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Black 3D-printed Rains shoes

Five standout 3D-printed shoes unveiled at Paris Fashion Week

With 3D-printed footwear all over the catwalks at Paris Fashion Week, we look at five of the most interesting from couture house Dior's smart derby shoe to Danish fashion brand Rains' chunky slip-on platform.

At the latest Paris Fashion Week, boots with 3D-printed soles and whole trainers made by 3D printers signalled that the technology is having a moment in footwear.

Although 3D-printed shoes have been around for almost a decade, major fashion brands – in particular couture houses – have rarely made use of the technology in their designs.

Sportswear brands have led the charge

Notable exceptions include Dutch designer Iris van Herpen, who worked with designer Rem D Koolhaas to showcase 3D-printed shoes on the couture catwalk in 2013.

Meanwhile, sportswear companies have embraced the precision and customisation possibilities afforded by the technology and a wide array of trainers already exist that integrate 3D-printed elements.

Sportswear giant Nike used 3D-printing to create football boot studs in 2013 while rival Adidas launched a 3D-printed offering back in 2016. Shortly after, American company Under Armour joined the list of sportswear companies incorporating 3D printing into shoes with the release of its lattice-soled trainers.

Namesake 3D-printed shoes at Paris Fashion Week
Namesake's shoes have 3D-printed soles

However, as the technology has improved, more brands – including high fashion companies – have woken up to the benefits of using 3D printing in their footwear manufacturing.

"The benefits are the speed and agility around product development and the freedom on the design process, which offers many possibilities around personalization and new ideas," printer company HP, which worked with Dutch brand Botter and sportswear company Reebok to design a pair of 3D-printed shoes recently told Dezeen.

Here are five shoes with 3D-printing elements that were on show at Paris Fashion Week:

Black Dior shoes at Paris Fashion Week

Carlo by Dior

French fashion house Dior sent models down the runway wearing black lace-up derbys with a lattice structure all over and the Dior logo embossed on the soles.

To create the shoes, the designers scanned a traditional Dior Carlo shoe to create a digital form and then designed its mesh-like texture. Over the course of 12 hours, the Carlo shoe was 3D printed and then polished and cleaned to remove any residue white powder.

A video released by the brand showcased the steps involved in the process. It claims that 80 per cent of the shoes can be recycled and reused once the tongue, under soles and laces have been removed.

A pair of black platform shoes

Puffer Boot by Rains and Zellerfeld

Inside the Théâtre du Châtelet auditorium, Danish brand Rains debuted its first 3D-printed shoe, which was produced by German 3D-printed footwear company Zellerfeld.

Although the shoes are chunky and have a large platform, they are lightweight and flexible. They were designed to compliment the brand's clothing collection, which was dominated by oversized puffer jackets and inflated silhouettes.

Reebok x Botter Sneakers

Reebok x Botter Sneaker by Reebok, Botter and HP

A sea snail said to be used by the Greek goddess Venus to comb her hair was the starting point of these vibrantly coloured trainers with ridged soles.

Dutch brand Botter partnered with sportswear company Reebok on the sneaker, which was manufactured using advanced computational techniques and an HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printer in just 15 days.

Each shoe was made entirely from a single material, thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and was hand painted in colours that Botter associated with the Caribbean Sea.

A pair of Namesake boots

Silkroad by Namesake

Boots and heels with leather uppers and 3D-printed latticed soles produced by 3D printing technology company Pou Chen Group were presented at Taiwanese fashion brand Namesake's show.

The shoes were paired with sporty items such as baggy trousers and basketball caps. Elsewhere, models wore garments informed by Y2K fashion – styles that were popular in the early 2000s.

Blue shoes by KidSuper

Heal Your Soul, Heel Your Sole by KidSuper and Zellerfeld

Made out of layers of thermoplastic polyurethane – a rubbery plastic –  these bright blue shoes were unveiled during American brand KidSuper's Spring Summer 2023 show at Paris Fashion Week in October.

The laceless shoes were digitally knitted to create a knit-like texture that feels squishy and springy to the touch while its elongated arch gives the shoe a more formal shape.