London-based designer and researcher Shamees Aden has a vision for the future of footwear. It’s a future where shoes are 3D printed out of synthetic biological material that responds to your every step and can regenerate overnight. She’s even made a prototype.
Behold the Protocell sneaker. The shoes are customised for the wearers foot so that they fit like a second skin, and in its own way, the protocell technology that they’re made of works like skin. Protocells aren’t alive, but they act like they are which is how the shoes get their responsive and self-healing qualities.
“The cells have the capability to inflate and deflate and to respond to pressure,” Aden told Dezeen. But they special material requires a little extra care, as you have to store them in a jar full of protocell liquid. Aden explained, “You would take the trainers home and you would have to care for it as if it was a plant, making sure it has the natural resources needed to rejuvenate the cells.”
Who wouldn’t want half-living shoes that make it look like you have alien feet? Unfortunately, the project is only in the concept stage now, and Aden thinks it could be nearly four decades before we see this kind of technology on the market. In the meantime, there’s always Birkenstocks.