Helen Wiehr

Juli / July - 2018

Hochschule der Bildenden Künste Saar


An individual cycling shoe for professional athletes was designed according to the cradle to cradle principle. It consists of an individually adapted carbon sole, a knitted inner shoe and a shaft made of coated fabric. The shoe is designed in such a way that it can be separated by type.

What is the Topic?

I wanted to express the themes of individuality, innovation and sustainability in this product. A society only changes if the people who live in it move in a different direction. This requires individualists who think differently and role models to reach many people. Individuality should therefore not embody egoism or self-determination, no, it should encourage people to take responsibility for themselves and to become aware of their role in society. The athlete is a person of public life and something to be admired by many people. He can inspire people to be more sustainable.

Why does it look like this?

The division of the shoe into inner shoe and outer shoe was created for reasons of separation by type. The outer shoe serves to give the foot stability and to protect it from the weather, while the inner shoe comfortably embeds the foot. The sole, which depends on optimal fit and power transmission, has a purely functional, ergonomic character. The sides of the sole have been raised for better power transmission. The open design possibilities are intended to achieve identification with the product. The TPU structures and colour combinations therefore leave room for individual wishes.

What is special?

The function of the wheel shoe should not show any loss in any case, on the contrary. The product should convince through contemporary design and innovation and at the same time promote regional companies. Since manual work is very expensive in this country and the training facilities in the shoe trade are becoming increasingly scarce, 3D printing became the chosen production method. However, the individual steps were still discussed with an orthopaedic shoemaker from the Saarland (shoe manufactory Herges). His expertise and experience cannot be replaced by a digital process, which is why this profession will continue to be of enormous importance in the future. The digital process makes it possible to manufacture custom-made products in Germany at relatively low cost. Both the last and the sole, the printed fabric and the protective elements have been produced using this process.

What is new?

New is the complete construction of the shoe. The separation of the inner shoe and the outer shoe is a new approach and leads to more sustainability on the one hand and less manual work on the other. The inner shoe can be produced with the 3D-knitting process from 100% merino wool, which has never been tried before. And with the process a complete inner shoe can be generated without additional seams, which gets different properties with different knitting patterns in different areas. Also new is the fact that a made-to-measure sports shoe can be produced using a digital process.