Not really glamorous but seems comfortable: BASF developed a virtual concept shoe with its 3D printing materials and Additive manufacturing technologies. Designed for occupational and dress shoes, the materials specialist leverages Infinergy®, an expanded thermoplastic polyurethane (E-TPU) for the fabrication.

The closed-cell, elastic particle foam has first been launched in 2013. It combines the properties of TPU with the advantages of foams, making it as elastic as rubber but lighter.

During these years, the material has been leveraged for the production of athletic and safety shoes. This concept shoe is therefore the first product designed for occupational and dress.

The manufacturer claims they are comfort, light weight and will deliver long-term durability to consumers in the work place.

Moving forward – with 3D printed footwear

The footwear industry increasingly favors 3D printing techniques in manufacture. Ultrasint® TPU01 from BASF 3D printing solutions is a multi-purpose TPU material for producing flexible parts, with high throughput and excellent quality. Typical applications are sports footwear, orthopedic insoles in which the required properties of shock absorption, energy return, and flexibility can be specifically tuned by design through additive-based manufacturing. BASF demonstrated this by 3D printing 50 pairs of sneakers using its TPU powder with both HSS and SLS technologies. Leveraging its expertise in the FEA simulation (Ultrasim®) of lattice structures and its own material models, the team created a gradient lattice structure that fulfilled the target comfort and stability requirements throughout the shoe’s midsole. The finishing touch was BASF’s flexible coating, which provided enhanced durability and outstanding aesthetics”, said the company.

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