Designer Ammo Liao has started on a process for developing shoes using only a single material. The goal of the shoes is to help create a more eco-friendly shoe that will ultimately reduce the cost of production and reduce the impact on the environment. There will be nearly 330 million pairs of shoes sold in the UK alone every year, and most of them will unfortunately end up in a landfill which experts claim could take over 50 years to decompose once there. Recycling shoe products also often is a challenge because they are created from dozens of materials from many different processes. This makes refining these materials out into a useable product difficult.
This is where Liao steps in (no pun intended) with his BioKnit shoes. Using a form of 3D printing, in a knitting process the machine funnels th e materials into different stitching patterns to create different levels of flexibility or rigidity throughout the shoe. For example it can create the shoe with a stronger base and a more flexible top all with the same material. The process is called textile biomimicry which when properly manipulated can provide multiple functions making it both flexible and robust. In this way Liao has helped inspire innovation to reduce pollution and impact of these shoes on the environment.