This year, 3D printed, sustainable and technology infused footwear designs reigned supreme over the rest, further proving that footwear design is a booming creative industry. The most popular designs from this year incorporate unique materials, manufacturing techniques and technological gimmicks to captivate footwear fans across the globe.
The 3D printed footwear scramble between all major footwear companies kicked off earlier this year with the release of Under Armour's 3D ARCHITECHS—the first 3D printed shoes to actually hit the market. Following the 3D ARCHITECHS, Reebok released a limited run of their liquid 3D printed kicks, the Liquid Speeds. We got to test these guys out in a thorough review, packaging and all. Following Reebok, adidas recently released their take on the trend—their 3D Runners.
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Thanks to efforts from multiple companies, sustainable footwear was on everyone's mind this year. The most popular example is the adidas x Parley ocean shoe, which is made from recycled ocean plastic debris. It gets even better—a version of the sustainable sneakers are set to hit the market in the near future.
Rounding up our year in review footwear edition is the release of the sci-fi turned reality classics, the Air Mags. Nike's self-lacing sneaker concept started over 30 years ago when the Air Mags debuted in Back the the Future 2. This year, an 89 pair special released occurred to benefit Parkinson's disease. Self-lacing is a sought after gimmick that Nike is making "more affordable"and actually performance related through the release of their HyperAdapt 1.0 sneakers.
Emily is a freelance writer based in NYC with an interest in all things design, specifically the design process. When she's not writing about design, Emily can either be found taking care of her 31 houseplants, going on "nature" walks in her neighborhood or studying Japanese. Before going freelance, Emily was an Editor at Core77.