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3D-Weaving Turns a Single Thread Into Shoe Soles and Stab-Proof Vests

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At first glance it looks like these shoes are shod with two strategically shaped Top Ramen bricks. Delicious, perhaps, but c'mon—too crunchy for underfoot! The flexible soles were actually made with a 3D weaving machine designed by a graduate at London's Royal College of Art, by layering a single, continuous thread in complementary patterns, one on top of the other.

Oluwaseyi Sosanya found inspiration in two traditional textile-making contraptions—a sewing machine and industrial knitting machine—and combined elements from both to create this patent-pending device.


Winding the wool in different arrangements around the grid of vertical guide poles will make the material grow up—volumized!—rather than just out and flat.


Once finished, the form was dipped in silicone to keep its shape and add a bit of bounce; not exactly what you want to wear while tromping through the mud or on a rainy day—they would be a bitch and a half to clean out the crevices—but quite cool if they're actually comfortable.


Sosanya's not the first to experiment with 3D weaving or 3D-printed footwear, but he tried out the lace-ups to give a sense of a commercial use for the tech. Ultimately, he has his sights set on developing a material that will be a boon for protective applications—everything from helmets to stab-proof police vests that more easily and adapt to women's curvier figures, like a modern-day chain mail that gives like a sponge. [Dezeen]