We’ve come a long way since we relied on our own (or our grandmother’s) knitting skills for jerseys, socks and beanies. The launch of the industrial knitting machine in the 1960s changed this clothes-making method drastically and now it seems 3D knitting is revolutionising what it means to purl once again.
A Los Angeles-based company has recently launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to get a 3D knitted shoe (apparently the world’s first) to market at an affordable price, which suggests that the use of this revolutionary manufacturing technology might be becoming more commonplace.
The design of the JS Shoe is rendered on a computer and this information is then sent to an advanced machine that turns the virtual instruction into a fully functional slip-on. At the digital stage, details of the shoe’s make-up, like colour and size, can be adjusted, so there’s potential for both customisation and mass production.
This production process significantly reduces the number of components and layers that need to go into the footwear, so the final product is super lightweight (one shoe weighs 130g), seamless, flexible and very comfortable. Plus, because the machine uses only the exact amount of material required to create each item, there’s very little waste of resources.
Another interesting concept the company has introduced is a Buy One By One approach. This means that shoppers can purchase one shoe at a time and so mix and match colours – at the moment there’s a blue, magenta, teal, yellow and a special edition rainbow option. If you have feet that are slightly different sizes (apparently most people do), you can cater to this too.
The Kickstarter campaign has very nearly reached its goal, so it looks like there’s a good chance that this progressive creation will go into production in around March 2016.
Watch the video about these 3D gems here: