At some point in life, most of us would have spent more than an hour at a shoe store trying to find a suitable pair of shoes. The one that looks great doesn’t fit so well and the pair that fits ever so snugly on the inside, doesn’t look complimenting to your physique. This is especially true in the case of running shoes and sneakers. Even when you succeed in finding shoes that are good in fit as well as style, you might experience a lack of support or flexibility when you actually wear them for a jog.
Seattle-based Pensar Development, the product design and engineering pioneer is here to bust the myth that the perfect pair of shoes is non-existent. With its futuristic DNA 3D Printed Shoe design, Pensar claims to have conceived a method to make shoes that will know and acknowledge each nook and cranny of your feet, giving you utmost comfort.
Purported to be a second layer of skin, Pensar DNA shoes will be modeled to embrace the user’s unique anatomical lineament and biomechanical motility patterns. The product is currently only in the conceptualization stage and the company asserts that further research is incumbent to convert this idea into reality. Like for instance, the industry has yet to identify and develop the kind of material that will be the right mix of flexibility, resistance, durability and skin-friendly.
The company has released the concept in a storyboard depicting how they will go about the project. It seems that a customer’s locomotive style is studied with the help of ‘test run’ which he/she will take wearing a a pair of shoes fitted with pressure sensors that will determine the patterns of inversion, eversion and dorsiflexion during a sprint or whatever workout the user wants the shoes designed for. This means that these shoes will be made to give you grip and flexibility depending on the exercise you will be using them for. Shoes that adjust and adapt to the shape of your feet in motion, can let you practice and go about your stretches and flexing routine with reduced fatigue and inconvenience.
When we move, our feet come in contact with the ground and that is where different people record varied patterns such as overpronation and supination. To understand this better, you can simply observe the outer sole of the shoes you are now using. If the outer edges are worn out, you can deduce that you are an overpronator, which is common in people with a pronounced arch. And if the inner side near the balls of the feet are worn out, it can imply that yours is supination, likely to occur if you have a flat or weak arch in your feet.
The designers will also run a 3 Dimensional scan of your feet, which when combined with the data from the test run will give them adequate database to be fed into algorithms. Customers can then customize the design with color choices, textures and fabric. They can also use a model they have in mind which can be adapted into the basic design of the Pensar DNA shoes. The final prototype is then all set to be printed out on the 3D printing machine. Pensar eyes the Objet500 Connex3 from Stratasys for this purpose which is believed to be capable of churning out pairs in a matter of few hours, also allowing the coalescing of multiple materials and colors at once.
There seems to be a catch in the pricing aspect. It is estimated that the material cost combined with machine depreciation and skill will all mount up on the final price which could be anywhere near $2000. Nonetheless, this technology is something that can further the research efforts toward designing sensible clothing and fabric to withstand various circumstances.