Graduate shows 2015: Royal College of Artwork graduate Ammo Liao has designed pairs of shoes with 3D-printed soles and uppers manufactured fully from a recyclable knitted materials (+ film).

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Liao’s Bio-Knit trainers are formed using a 3D-knitting method, which enables different material properties across a single surface.

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Polymer yarns are fed into automated machines, which can be programmed to weave various patterns that enable flexibility and rigidity in the preferred areas of the shoe. The segment close to the ankle is much more flexible to let the wearer to insert and eliminate their foot, whilst the toe, heel and bridge are rigid for support.

Various colors and motifs can also be incorporated into the weave.

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Knitted flat, the material is sewn collectively into slipper-like shoes that are fitted into 3D-printed soles.

Just before assembly, the toe and heel are heat-pressed in a mould for additional rigidity, whilst laser engraving allows smaller sized places to be hardened a lot more accurately.


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Liao, who studied on the RCA’s Innovation Design Engineering course, needed to develop sneakers that are environmentally pleasant and easy to recycle.

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Rather that employing the multitude of guy-made plastic composites that go into current trainer manufacturing, which can make them hard and high-priced to recycle, his design will take its cues from nature.

“Nature employs only a number of polymers for everything in our living setting, because it modifications the material’s identity, structures and textures,” he said.

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The outcome is his Bio-Knit material, which is created from a single polymer and can therefore be recycled as a total.

“This multi-functional single materials can effectively boost our recycling business without having relying on a separation procedure,” Liao advised Dezeen.

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He believes this could lead to the conservation of all-natural resources, enhancements to the sustainability of landfill, reductions in power and greenhouse gases, and lowered charges of recycling.

Liao’s project was presented at this year’s Demonstrate RCA 2015 graduate exhibition in London earlier this summer, along with a series of stools manufactured employing waste nylon powder from 3D printing, and a new materials formed from plant fibres and naturally fermented cellulose.

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Sportswear giants Nike and Adidas also use knitting technological innovation to develop footwear. Nike’s Flyknit has been used to create running trainers, football boots and basketball sneakers, and swiftly launched a soccer boot soon after Adidas claimed to be the first to create a single with an upper knitted completely from yarn.

Adidas also lately additional to its eco-credentials by unveiling a pair of trainers created from recycled ocean plastic.

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