With the constant evolution of materials and technology today, new and exciting possibilities are being created at a surprisingly fast rate. While some ideas are a little too out there, other innovative steps are bound to make an impact on the performance footwear landscape for years to come. So let's geek out a bit and talk about The 5 Most Promising Concepts Influencing Sneaker Designers Today.

MrBailey is a footwear designer / developer consultant and the co-founder of the custom lifestyle footwear brand,  lūp. He also owns and operates the footwear design, development and marketing agency, FTWRDSGN and is the founder and editor of the footwear design website, Concept Kicks.

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No. 5. - Self Healing

A shoe that can heal itself may seem like something you may only see in sci-fi, however with the emergence and development of supramolecular chemistry, this is something that could be possible in the coming years.



No. 4 - Dirt Resistant

I don’t have to explain how useful a dirt resistant shoe would be. Nanotechnology affords us a plethora of exciting possibilities that we’re just now beginning to realize. Superhydrophobic nanotechnology could be something that is applied to a shoe upper that would make it nearly impossible to scuff, something I think any sneakerhead or runner would highly appreciate.



No. 3 - Super Traction - Geckskin

Traction is always an issue, and is something that in reality hasn’t progressed in the past decade or so. Herringbone tread patterns are still the preferred soles of choice for many athletes, but imagine the possibilities being able to harness the super adhesive force of lizards feet? Geckskin has done exactly that, mimicking the functionality & traction of Gecko’s feet. Finding a way to implement this technology into the sole of and athletic shoe could really create some exciting new possibilities, specifically for rock climbers and sports of that nature.


thermo-responsiveNo. 2 - Thermo responsive material

Creating a fabric that, much like a synthetic skin, would react to you own body temperature, opening it’s pores to allow for greater breathability, or tighten to decrease heat loss, would be incredible. Stimuli-responsive polymers (SRPs) are smart materials that could be an option to making something like this a possibility, creating a shoe that reacts to you and is essentially an extension of your own body.

3D-printedNo. 1 - Fully 3D printed shoe

3D printing always manages to find it’s way into my articles, just for the simple fact that the possibilities with it are endless. Though we’re still in the infant stages with this technology and are limited to the material and costs, new breakthroughs are occurring daily, I was recently reach out to by a firm claiming they can 3D print a rubber like material. When we are able to print not only hard materials, but also softer, fabric like materials, creating a fully 3D printed sole & upper will be possible. This combined with the technology becoming more efficient will enable shoes to be created faster, cheaper and more intricate than previously possible.

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