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Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

3D-Printed Shoes: The Next Step In Fashion?

photo
The 3D-printed shoes are $900 per pair and made to order. (Continuum Fashion)Jenna Fizel modeled the 3D-printed shoe in our studio. (Robin Young)The shoes are lined with a patent leather inner sole, and coated with a synthetic rubber on the bottom to provide traction. (Continuum Fashion)The name of the shoe line is strvct. (Continuum Fashion)This model is not yet tested. (Continuum Fashion)Continuum Fashion says one of its concepts is "pushing the limits of what is recognizable as a shoe." (Continuum Fashion)Since the designs are created digitally, the company can produce any shoe style, including this stiletto. (Continuum Fashion)Printed nylon is strong and lightweight. (Continuum Fashion)This one brings to mind Cinderella's glass slipper. (Continuum Fashion)

It used to be that printing your plane tickets at home was cutting edge. Now companies are using three dimensional printers to quickly create almost anything. Three dimensional printing, otherwise known as additive manufacturing, has huge implications for doctors creating artificial limbs, soldiers in remote field locations and designers creating new fashion.

One of those fashion companies is Continuum Fashion, based in Cambridge, Mass. Jenna Fizel, along with her partner Mary Huang are the team behind Continuum and they have recently started offering a pair of printed shoes. Fizel says the inspiration for the design of the shoes comes from all sorts of places, from the Birds Nest Stadium in Beijing to the basic building blocks of video games.

“It’s also to do with our obsession with combining a typical regular object and the digital expression of the object,” said Fizel.

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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