Looking like something out of a cyberverse, the EXPLR 02 are a pair of 3D-printed runners that combine organic shapes with a geometric grid to create something unusually beautiful. “Inspired by modern geometric structures and nature’s patterns of repetition, 02 is an exploration of creating distorted yet organized chaos,” says designer Matthew Blunt. The shoe’s unique design also pushes the limits of 3D printing, which is perhaps the only possible manufacturing process one could use to prototype the concept.
Designer: Matthew Blunt
The shoe’s eye-catching design has some incredibly noteworthy details that make it quite a wonderful example for footwear enthusiasts and future designers. The grid-shaped outer body gives the shoe its breathability and flexibility – although it isn’t necessarily suited for dirty paths or gravel roads, just indoors, perhaps. Wearing the shoe is easy as your foot slips right on, with a heel tab that lets you pull the shoe upwards as you slip it on. Ankle and toe cutouts give the shoe an interesting visual effect as they cause the grid to contort around the cutouts, warping to make the shoe pattern more eye-catching.
What’s the most interesting is by far the shoe’s inner sole, which remains the only solid part of the entire footwear. While the entire shoe’s form is dominated by grids, the inner sole acts as a single solid platform, separating the upper half of the shoe from the lower half. In fact, the lower half isn’t solid either, but was purposely left hollow, giving you a pillow-like air-gap between the outsole and the inner sole. What this would do for the shoe’s actual functionality remains to be seen, but for the designer, this was the fastest, easiest, and most interesting way to build out a prototype.
Given its name, the EXPLR 02 is still an exploration on Blunt’s part, who is an LA-based industrial designer, having worked with Nike and Rivian in the past. Blunt also tried experimenting with colors, going for a more vibrant selection as compared to the Yeezy Foam Runners that stick to more neutral hues in the beige family. Blunt’s EXPLR series aren’t for sale, but hopefully he’ll make the CAD files available to designers who can then experiment with materials and mods to make the shoes more industrially feasible and consumer-friendly.