Innovative 3D Printed Footwears – Printing One at a Time

Innovative 3D Printed Footwears – Printing One at a Time

By Knowledge Sourcing Intelligence Blog

The 3D printed footwear market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 21.77% to reach a market size worth US$3,296.967 million by 2027. This market was valued at US$830.630 million in 2020. The advancing technologies have digitalized the world and have transformed the way we live. The technological changes have further evolved the 3D printing, enabling the manufacturers to produce the lifestyle articles, including shoes, jewelry, clothes, and many more, cost-effectively. 3D printing is an additive manufacturing process of designing and making a three-dimensional solid product from a digital file. This innovative technology enables the production of complex shapes while minimizing the consumption of raw materials when compared with traditional manufacturing procedures. 3D printing has revolutionized the way shoes look. The application of 3D printing in customizing trendy boots and shoes has enabled the quicker molding of footwear while enhancing the shape and design of footwear to meet the changing aesthetic demands of the consumers. The 3D Printed Footwear is trifurcated based on technology, material, and application.  

Analysts anticipate that factors like evolving demand for customized footwear, rising penetration of digital manufacturing, and strategic developments deployed by the key players will drive the market onward. 

Today, the fashion business is linked with quick change, and it is often referred to as "Fast Fashion." This notion necessitates a higher level of adaptability, reactivity, and flexibility from the organization in response to the market's constant and rapid evolution. Enterprises are meeting these changes by incorporating consumers into their optimized network. This led to a paradigm shift wherein the consumers become a part of the designing process, as the companies design the products close to the customers' preferences. And 3D technology has made this process further easy. It is a more accessible, efficient, personalized, on-demand manufacturing model, replacing the previous large-scale and centralized industrial pattern, which is conducive to lower labor costs in low-end manufacturing. Simultaneously, 3D printing technology eliminated the time-consuming, complex mold development and manufacturing procedure. With the advancing technologies, the printing efficiency and quality are expected to improve, even more, shortening the manufacturing cycle of footwear while increasing the speed of product iteration. Furthermore, many pioneer brands like Nike, Adidas, and others have also incorporated 3D printing into their manufacturing operations to produce trendy and aesthetic footwear. Subsequently, many 3D printed footwear lines have been launched by the shoemakers, including Alphaedge, Futurecraft, 4D Run, Flyprint, and many more. 

Furthermore, the strategic launches and partnerships deployed by the key players are further adding impetus to the market growth. In October 2021, for instance, Heron Preston and Zellerfeld collaborated to create a completely 3D printer sneaker by Heron01. The partnership between the two reflects the collision between advancing technology, fashion, and design. While in January 2019, Adidas teamed up with Yohji Yamamoto, a Japanese fashion designer, to design a 3D printed sneakers, Y-3 Runner, and launched the fully designed product in the April of that year. Several such developments are expected to boost the market growth.

According to regional analysis, the 3D printed footwear market in North America and the Asia Pacific is expected to hold a significant share during the projected period. 

The global 3D printed footwear market is segmented into five regions based on geography: North America, South America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and the Asia Pacific. Of these regions, the North America and Asia Pacific regions are expected to hold a dominant share in the forecasted period, according to analysts. Rapid urbanization and increased demand for western brands globally are the factors affecting the market. The increased demand for customized shoes, increased disposable income, changing customer preferences, and well-established e-commerce segments are a few of the factors attributing to the growth of the market in the regions. Furthermore, the presence of many pioneers and multinational shoemaker brands in North America is yet another factor contributing to the growth of the market size in the said region.

The limited resources and weak outcomes are expected to restrain the growth of the 3D Printer Footwear market.

Though 3D printing enables mass production of footwear, the current production output is still low and has much room for improvement. The raw materials that could be used to produce 3D printed footwear are also quite limited. Furthermore, like 3D printing, which prints the products layer-by-layer technology, the products created are still comparatively weaker than the traditionally manufactured components. Furthermore, due to this layering technology, only components of the footwear can be produced. Thus, there is still a lot of intermediatory work to create the final finished footwear. The production quality also needs to be improved to be able to produce complete 3D printed shoes straight out of the printer. Also not mention, the current 3D printers and software are quite expensive and also necessities skilled labor to operate the machine. 

Covid-19 Insights

The global pandemic had a negative impact on the 3D Printed Footwear market. The mandated lockdowns, surge in infected cases, and social distancing had led to the closure of many production units, either partially or wholly. At the same time, many retail stores were also forced to shut down and observed lesser foot traffic even after re-opening. The surge of active infected cases proportionally affected the staffing in the industries, further affecting productivity. Not to mention, China, the epicenter of the pandemic, is a key supplier of raw materials and other accessories for the shoes. Furthermore, economic recession across the globe has caused many consumers to become frugal and reduce their spending on accessories. This led to the increased storage of articles in the inventories due to the less demand.