These pair of sneakers can be fully customized to the needs of growing kids

For growing kids having a brand new pair of shoes can be a nightmare in just a year as their feet grow. Sure, they can get a new pair even though the last one is fairly good to use, but there are environmental impacts to this if that concerns you. A pair can generate up to 30 pounds of CO2 emissions which is something you’d want to avoid at all cost.

The 4Steps 3D-Printed sneakers concept by Michele Di Carlo wants to get over the issue of growing kids and piles of shoes that end up in landfills every year. In works ever since 2017, the project wants to help address the problem of eco-sustainability in the footwear industry. The use of a 3D printer to make a pair further lessens the environmental impact.

Designer: Michele Di Carlo

The target audience for this resizable pair of sneakers weighing 123 grams is kids aged between 6 and 14 who can use the same shoe for almost five years (that’s if they use them with care) before needing a new one. Each separate part of the shoe can be replaced for easy recycling and repair if needed. The use of molded parts having a honeycomb structure adds to the lightweight aesthetics of the pair. Michele has created a prototype of the sneakers using Filafex filament, a type of thermoplastic polyurethane known for its softness and durability.

The level of customization is not just restricted to size, the kids can choose to replace the style of uppers and sides, and also change the color or personalize them with logos or characters. Changing the size or replacing new customizable sections is as easy as taking them apart and assembling the pair again. The adjustable sneakers come with retractable heels to fit the new shoe size and all the pieces can be stringed back easily under the supervision of an adult.

4Steps sneakers are held together with the elastic strings and the adjustments can be made by unclipping and then clipping these strings back. For the summertime, the shoes have a breathable mesh while for the winter season, a layer of insulation can be put. For now, the cool sneakers are in the concept and prototyping phase, and we hope to see them as a real product soon.