This parametric 3D printed sneaker is made entirely out of one single flexible material

Like Crocs, but infinitely cooler…

The Parametriks Print 001 sneaker makes clever use of design and material sciences to create a sneaker that’s comfortable, stylish, and easy to manufacture. Sort of like how crocks just use one material that’s injection-molded into the shape of a shoe, the Print 001 relies on 3D printing to fabricate its design… which was arrived at by using parametric algorithms.

Parametric Design involves the use of computational parameters that help guide the design process. In a lot of ways, it’s a collaborative design effort between human and computer, as the human sets the parameters and the computer comes up with a form that most efficiently fulfills those parameters. In the case of this shoe, Nathan Smith (also known by his Instagram moniker Parametriks) used a custom algorithm on Grasshopper to create a form that enveloped a foot perfectly while utilizing less material yet offering the same amount of flexibility.

The shoe/sneaker uses a rather intriguing triangular mesh matrix that warps right around the wearer’s foot, fitting it perfectly thanks to the shoe’s bespoke design. Made from TPU, the shoe is about as flexible as a pair of Crocs, while looking infinitely cooler and offering a level of breathability and flexibility that’s unmatched. Sure, the holes on the shoe’s sole open you up to pebbles, thorns, and water, but then again, this piece of footwear is purely experimental as it hopes to explore what a parametric piece of footwear can look like. I’d say I’m pretty happy with the visual results!

Together, 3D printing and parametric design could essentially revolutionize the footwear industry. 3D printing is increasingly being used by companies like Adidas to design forms that can’t be made through traditional manufacturing methods. Parametric design, on the other hand, involves using the wearer’s foot shape and size as a parametric input, so the computer knows what to wrap its material around. This allows footwear to be incredibly personal and unique to the wearer, making them just as, if not more comfortable than regular mass-manufactured shoes.

You can check out more of Nathan’s work on his Instagram.

Designer: Nathan Smith