Ethem Civelek

Juni / June - 2020

Universität der Künste Berlin

Bachelor of Arts


HIHEEL is a 3D-printed, modular heeled shoe, in which the heel and the upper material can be put together as desired, and can be customized in terms of color and material. The manufacturing technology enables the shoe to be produced very economically and quickly on-site, thereby avoiding long transport routes.

What is the Topic?

The aim of the project was to investigate generic typologies and manufacturing methods of high heel shoes and to redefine them using 3D printing technology. The focus is on designing more economically sustainable options for production.

Why does it look like this?

HIHEEL creates a synergy of body-hugging, organic shapes and a strong contrast of industrial, architectural construction lines. The sole forms the interface between body and object. The heel forms are adaptations from industrially manufactured semi-finished products (for example profile steel with T-beam profiles). These have to meet certain static stability requirements. So my design approach not only represents an aesthetic discussion but also has a structural and static background.

What is special?

The 3D printing process belongs to the rapid prototyping or rapid manufacturing process. It describes methods and production processes for the fast and flexible production of components and series using tool-free production directly from the CAD data. An important aspect of HIHEEL is the production on site, without production and transport routes, the possibility to adapt the product, i.e. the shoe, to the needs of the buyer. A production concept that uses fewer fascilities and requires far fewer resources. At the beginning of my work, I decided to forego traditional methods of joining shoes, such as gluing and sewing. This resulted from the direct work with material and technology, the modular system of the HIHEEL, which connects the individual elements by means of rails. This eliminates the need for industrial adhesives, which often contain harmful solvents. Since each element can be separated from each other again, it is possible to easily recycle the shoe.

What is new?

A traditionally manufactured high heel shoe is quite complex in construction and processing and the production is associated with a high level of technical effort, special tools and many work steps. These also require a trained worker to carry them out. Based on these findings, I set myself the goal of rethinking the complexity and difficulty of production and consequently reducing the manufacturing process to just one production technology. The additive process of 3D printing offers a wide range of possibilities since both complex geometries with undercuts and organic and fragile shapes can be printed. The polyjet technology enables the heel shoe to be printed in one piece and to process different materials and colors at the same time. This eliminates the need for gluing, sewing and other intermediate steps in production, for example. In the event of material wear, it is possible to either print a spare part yourself or reorder it without any major detours.