Here at 3D Rapid Print, one of the fastest growing 3D Printing companies in the Thames Valley, we like to keep abreast of the latest innovations in 3D printing.

In September 2020, 22-year-old design engineer Rik Olthuis of Tauranga, New Zealand won a James Dyson Award for his 3D printed compostable running shoes, designing them for a final year university project in 2019. Olthuis argues that the use of adhesives prevents the separation and treatment of materials at the end of a shoe’s lifespan, ergo he was inspired to design a shoe made from biodegradable materials and no adhesives. The James Dyson Award website proclaims that the number of pairs of shoes produced globally has gone from 7 billion in 1950 to 23 billion today, and that most shoes go into landfill where they will take an average of 50 years to decompose.

To make the shoes, Olthius developed a special biodegradable foam, and used unspecified natural ingredients to improve the shoes’ water resistance and compression strength. The shoe’s sole and midsole were 3D printed using a biodegradable filament, while the upper was made from merino wool with 3D printed details. While developing the final design, Olthius made 15 individual shoes, with a single pair of them costing circa NZ$100 to make.

Olthius and the 2 other New Zealand finalists moved on to the competition’s international round, where a panel of Dyson engineers chose 20 entries for the competition’s final round. Unfortunately, none of the New Zealand entries were selected. Nonetheless, as New Zealand’s national winner, Olthuis will receive NZ$3,500 to go towards his project. British inventor Sir James Dyson will select the competition’s international winner, sustainability winner and 2 runners-up on November 19th.

3D printing is an amazing tool. It can grow your small business or start a mini revolution in an industry. Explore what it can do for you when you contact us today.

Disclaimer: Featured image of “Vincent van Gogh – Shoes” is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art. The work of art itself is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years or less.