Materials science company Pangaia is launching on-demand 3D printed sneakers with emerging technology company Zellerfeld made from a singular material that can be melted down and used again at the end of life.
The latest sustainable innovation from Pangaia leans into the brand’s waste reduction research pillar and marks the first foray into on-demand footwear production to eliminate excess inventory utilising Zellerfeld's 3D-printed footwear platform.
Dubbed the ‘Absolute Sneaker,’ the footwear style replaces the use of more than 40 materials in a conventional sneaker with only one material, TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane), the only material that can currently be used with Zellerfeld’s technology.
While the fuel-derived material can be recycled into a new pair at the end of its life, Pangaia added that it is working with Zellerfeld to develop a renewable material that is both waste-saving and non-reliant on the use of fossil fuel-derived inputs such as virgin thermoplastic polyurethane currently used in the 3D printing process.
Craig Smith, director of research and development at Pangaia, said in a statement: “Zellerfeld circumvents the traditional footwear development challenges with their proprietary printing system that allows you to create a mono-material, circular and on-demand product that is both durable and comfortable.
“This partnership with Zellerfeld focuses on our waste reduction research pillar, due to the efficiencies gained through this innovative printing process which supports our exploration into process innovation within Pangaia. The goal here is to pair both material and process innovation in such a way that it transforms the typical product supply chain.”
Pangaia continues to innovate fashion with 3D-printed sneakers in partnership with Zellerfeld
Cornelius Schmitt, chief executive and co-founder at Zellerfeld, added: “I couldn't be more thrilled to see major brands embracing the 3D printing revolution. With the ‘Absolute Sneaker,’ Pangaia has created a shoe that not only prioritises sustainability but is also the lightest and quickest to print, setting a new standard for what's possible in printed footwear.
“Our hope is that this partnership inspires others to join the mission towards a circular future and to recognise the potential that 3D printing holds in revolutionising the way we create products.”
Pangaia's ‘Absolute Sneaker’ will launch as a limited release in two colourways on April 13 online, costing 250 US dollars. The material science company is also incentivising its customers to return the product at the end of its usable life to be recycled by providing a 30 US dollar voucher towards a future purchase.
This isn’t the first 3D-printed sneaker from Zellerfeld, the technology company worked with Heron Preston in 2021 on his ‘Heron01’ sneaker. The 3D printing pioneers also worked with outerwear lifestyle brand Rains on a puffer boot for its autumn/winter 2023 collection.