World Footwear


United Nude launches 3D printed shoes

Aug 11, 2014 Netherlands
United Nude launches 3D printed shoes
The famous footwear brand has designed the Float shoe, which can be 3D printed at home on a compact desktop machine
The launch of the 3D printed United Nude Float Shoes took place at the brand's flagship store in New York City last week. Partnering with tech company 3D Systems, the footwear brand created a model of shoes that can be built on a Cube 3D Printer, and announced it as the result of “pushing the boundaries of forward thinking, and combining technology and fashion”.

An interactive touch screen console was utilized for the 3D printing of the shoes, which was connected to four of 3D Systems Cube 3D printers, designed for consumers at home and ideal for in-store 3D printing.

Rem D Koolhaas, founder United Nude, commented: “We have been using 3D printing for the product development of our shoes ever since our first shoes, dating back to 2001. Since then we have seen a massive evolution in 3D printing. In recent years we have made fully printed 3D printed finished shoes with Iris Van Herpen for her runway show, which were made with state of the art laser sintering 3D printing, but we never designed a fully functional 3D printed shoe that was made with an entry level desktop printer. We felt extremely challenged by the idea of developing a shoe for the 3D Systems Cube 3D Printer. In fact, this new 999 US dollars printer is a very compact and easy to use machine, but to print something that’s actually bigger than its printable footprint needed a lot of thought and creativity. We designed the shoe in three parts that just simply link into each other, forming the final product. The fact that the shoe is made out of three parts actually adds to the design”.

Questions about the shoes' real potential to be worn and its comfort quickly arose, but Koolhaas is the first to admit the limitations of the model: “Even though this shoe is wearable (it features a hard cut rubber outsole), I don’t think it’s to be compared with any more conventional shoes in regards to comfort, but that’s also not the point of this design. This design is about creating something beautiful & interesting and it’s about experimenting, moving forward and about learning.”

The Float shoes are available at the brand’s website, and the Cube 3D printer is available at Cubify's website.

This announcement by United Nude follows a similar one made last summer by designer Janne Kyttanen. The main feature of the 3D printed shoes was the ability to having them made at home overnight to be worn the next day. At the time, Kyttanen, creative director at printing giant 3D Systems, has created four different styles of wedge shoes that can be made using 3D Systems' CubeX printer.

United Nude is the result of a partnership between Rem D Koolhaas, a Dutch architect, and Galahad Clark, a seventh generation shoemaker from Somerset, England. In 2003 United Nude launched the Möbius shoe, which since then has been recognized as a design-classic, contributing to the affirmation of the brand as one of the leaders in architectural footwear. United Nude distinctive features are the intersection of design and fashion and internationally acclaimed creativity. United Nude shoes are sold in over 40 countries, with flagship stores in Amsterdam, London and New York. For more information about the brand please refer to their website.

Credits for the images: United Nude

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