Stepping into the Future: Balena Unveils Eco-Friendly 3D Printed Shoes

Balena, a leading material science company specializing in advanced biodegradable polymer materials, recently revealed a groundbreaking collaboration with designer Kitty Shukman – a 3D-printed footwear project.

The collaboration centers around Balena’s innovative BioCir material, which represents a major breakthrough for the fashion industry. This material is not only fully compostable but also biodegradable, making it a game-changer for sustainable fashion. Shukman took on the challenge of creating a 3D-printed concept slide using this extraordinary material, pushing the boundaries of 3D printing technology and advocating for the adoption of durable, compostable, and biodegradable materials.

The resulting product, named ‘Roots,’ is an exquisite 3D-printed slide that showcases branches and stems seamlessly integrated into the outsole’s upper section, mimicking the organic wrapping of roots beneath the foot. What sets this design apart is the intentional distinction between the left and right shoes, adding an element of organic growth to the footwear.

In a statement, Shukman expressed her dedication to finding a harmonious balance between functionality, sustainability, and style. Collaborating with the Balena team has allowed her to envision a future where the fashion industry becomes truly circular, promoting a more sustainable and environmentally friendly approach to fashion design and production.

“I hope to see 3D-printing continue to leave its mark as a unique, bold, and sustainable medium in the fashion industry on its way to becoming climate neutral.”

The BioCir manufacturing process is highly scalable, explains Balena, and all products crafted with BioCir undergo a responsible end-of-life cycle through a biological recycling mechanism. This entails complete decomposition and biodegradation in an industrial compost facility, safely returning it to the earth – a circular process essential for a sustainable future.

David Roubach, founder and chief executive of Balena, added: “Partnering with Kitty to create a truly remarkable and circular product has underlined the magic that happens when you put the right material in the hands of the right designer.

“Our combined creative vision has taken the dream of sustainable, scalable 3D-printing another step forward, and we hope to see leading fashion brands take a step in the same direction in the near future.”

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