Vivobarefoot 3D Prints Customized, Sustainable Shoes at the Click of a Button – 3Dnatives

Vivobarefoot 3D Prints Customized, Sustainable Shoes at the Click of a Button – 3Dnatives


Did you know that 25 billion pairs of shoes are produced every year, with around a quarter of which only last a year and then end up in landfill? Indeed, it is certainly no secret that the fashion industry is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to environmental pollution. More and more companies are therefore actively looking for new ways to redefine fashion and reconcile it with sustainability and longevity. That’s why today we’re talking about a company that is tackling the problems of the system and producing circular footwear. We’re talking about Vivobarefoot, which officially announced its partnership with Balena on its blog a few days ago.

Vivobarefoot is a British shoe label that was founded in 2012 and focuses on the production of barefoot shoes. “Only nature is truly sustainable” is the company’s credo, Vivobarefoot therefore not only relies on sustainable materials, but also pursues a global approach to sustainability. Environmentally friendly resources are not enough to maintain a healthy lifestyle; people generally need to become more active and return to their natural way of moving. Walking barefoot and shoes made from compostable materials are two pillars of how Vivobarefoot hopes to bring all of us back to our roots when it comes to our footwear.

10,000 years ago, people either walked barefoot or made footwear from materials provided by nature. Vivobarefoot is inspired by this concept.

Vivobarefoot and Balena Works Towards ‘Degrowth” Movement in the Footwear Industry

In order to “bring people closer to nature again”, Vivobarefoot wants to develop more regenerative shoes and products to close the natural cycle. To this end, the company is cooperating with Balena. The materials research company has focused on the production of compostable, recyclable, thermoplastic materials on a biological basis. Its BioCir®flex material combines these properties in a durable, flexible and high-performance elastomer. Products made from this material are thus biodegradable and decompose after disposal.

With BioCir3D, Balena offers a material with these characteristics that has been specially created for use in 3D printing. For its part, 3D printing offers the possibility of personalization and design according to any design preferences. In addition to customized production, it is also possible to print according to the order situation, i.e. on-demand.

Vivobarefoot and Balena combine the advantages of 3D printing with Balena’s advanced materials to launch a sustainable production project. The resulting VivoBiome is a digital scan-to-print system that enables users to have their customized, individual and sustainable shoes printed with one order click. With these circular shoes, both partners are pursuing the higher goal of setting a “degrowth” trend in motion.

Shoes in Just One Click

But how to acquire these shoes for yourself? Well, in order to make them, first the individual design is created after the order is received. This is created using patented software, which makes it possible to create different CAD geometries for outsoles and to design the shoes according to the shape of the last or foot of the end user. The shoes themselves have a minimalist design. They have thin and flexible soles and a wide cut. This design is intended to promote freedom of movement. Following the design phase, the shoes are printed using biosynthetic and recycled materials.

The VivoBiome project entered the test phase in July last year. Around 200 people from the UK were sought out to test the VivoBiome shoes for various strains and their wearing comfort. The program is now entering the next phase. Balena and Vivobarefoot have announced that they will use the next six months for intensive testing and will make the shoes available to customers over the next 18 months. In 2025, it should be possible to order fully compostable, 3D-printed shoes with the click of a mouse and wear them on your feet just ten days later. You can find out more HERE.

What do you think of these 3D printed, compostable shoes from Balena and Vivobarefoot? Let us know in a comment below or on our LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly newsletter here, the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel.

*All Photo Credits: Vivobarefoot