Voronoi Runners

  • Prize
    Emerging Sport Apparel Designer of the Year
  • University
    Massey University
  • Lead Designer
    Rik Olthuis
  • Professor Credit
    Lyn Garret & Emma Fox
  • Photo Credit
    Chris Warren
  • Design Status
  • Project Link
  • Web URL

This project aimed to start conversations and raise questions around what is currently being done to better large-scale footwear production methods. The result is a display of what is currently achievable in sustainable production, able to compete with synthetic performance materials and challenge the normalized footwear consumption journey.

Voronoi Runners are a combination of technological advancement and sustainable consideration. While the sport and fashion industry is developing these two areas need to seamlessly combine to meet the demand of our progessive lifestyles. The sneakers are made using only 100% biodegradable materials, constructed without the use of any adhesives. Proposing a solution to the large amounts of waste impacting the environment from the footwear industry. Biodegradable alternatives accommodate proactive waste management targeting the source of the issue as opposed to dealing with materials after production.

Overall, footwear material waste is made obsolete, along with lessened CO2 emissions and removal of toxic chemicals.

The Voronoi Runners are named after the Voronoi structure prominent in the visual aesthetic of the shoe. Voronoi is a structure that divides a surface into regions made up of a network of connecting points, resembling a cell-like structure that can be manipulated to form to any shape. This pattern mimics a natural cell building structure renowned for its strength to weight ratio, providing the opportunity to form and fit a wide variety of feet.

Scanning and 3D printing technologies are used to tailor the shoe to the compression and force distribution needs of each foot. By obtaining a scan of the individual foot the Voronoi structure is made to attract cells to the areas in need of most support and repel for areas in need of flexibility.

This printed sole structure also provides the ability of attaching the upper without glues and chemicals. Using traditional stitching methods to follow along the edge of the midsole using the incorperated empty cells.

Product Detail
The Voronoi runners are 100% biodegradable sneakers constructed without the use of any adhesives. Proposing a solution to the large amounts of waste impacting the environment from the footwear industry.

Made from 7 different materials and 10 different parts. All are fully compostable and break down within 1 year. Materials include; biodegradable 3D print filament, merino wool, linen, organic cotton, linen twine, plant fiber, and my own newly created bio-foam. The construction of the Voronoi Runner considers end-of-life waste management by allowing for the manageable separation of each different material for individual composting met with optimal degradation variables.

The merino wool upper is sewn from 2 pieces, the underlayer is fully covered giving a sock-like fit with a 3D printed Voronoi detail on the tongue reducing stretching overtime. Lacing eyelets are also printed onto the outer layer of fabric. 3D printed heel and toe caps are inserted between the merino layers and sewn shut with plant fiber reinforcement to add strength and structure. The upper is then stitched onto the sole of the shoe using a linen twine following along the edge of the Voronoi midsole pattern.

Voronoi Runners offers a product of timeless design, suitable in many aspects of day-to-day life. While still incorperating a complex cell pattern it is balenced out by a minimalistic upper. Colours are able to vary while sizing is easily tweaked and tailored thanks to the involvement of additive manufacturing and lattice manipulation.

Recent graduate from Massey University with a bachelors degree with honors in Industrial Design.

Dutch designer currently based out of Wellington, New Zealand. Looking for opportunities offshore.

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