Highsnobiety

You might know Zellerfeld for 3D-printing sneakers for luxury labels as disparate as Moncler, Heron Preston, Kidsuper, Louis Vuitton and even YEEZY. But Zellerfeld would rather you know it for creating what it's calling the "YouTube of shoes," part of its "war in the footwear industry."

I spoke with Zellerfeld's excitable CEO, Cornelius Schmitt, in a video call prior to the June 25 launch of the open-source tool on Zellerfeld's website that it promises will democratize sneaker design.

Schmitt bounced around the company's office and manufacturing hub, showing off some truly alien footwear made with Zellerfeld's dynamic 3D-printing tech, shoes that looked at once recognizable but entirely unfamiliar.

There was a chunky sandal created by former adidas YEEZY footwear designer Christophe De Roy, for instance, and a wild slip-on that 3D-printing footwear auteur Benjometry envisioned with AI.

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this Instagram post.

All of the shoes are laceless, hard-wearing — Zellerfeld promises two years of wear per foam shoe, at least — and designed to fit each wearer's foot unlike any other shoe ever made before.

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this Instagram post.

Would-be Zellerfeld customers need only send the company a tracing of their foot and its machines will hone each 3D-printed sneaker to the customer's exact podiatric dimensions.

Not only does this create a literally seamless shape for maximum comfort, it also renders laces redundant. Schmitt enthusiastically underlined this point, cheerfully calling for "the end of laces."

He put a period on the exclamation by slipping into a shin-high lace-free boot, bending the pliable silhouette with ease.

These are snug shoes made of a material that delicately wraps the foot in plush softness. Imagine Crocs' squishy cushioning but as a holistic shoe: no blisters here.

The biggest benefit that Zellerfeld promises, however, goes beyond the shoes themselves. Indeed, it sees this new venture as the total leveling of the footwear playing field.

Its tool allows users to create their own made-to-order shoes and even profit from them, fulfilling a power-to-the-people pledge made back when this sort of print-on-demand tech first got going.

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this YouTube video.

In a nutshell, you'll pay Zellerfeld a flat fee for the real-world creation of your 3D-printed sneaker.

You can simply create a one-off shoe for yourself if you'd like or make the completed design available for anyone to purchase from Zellerfeld's website. Any time anyone else purchases that shoe — which will be shaped to their foot dimensions, of course — you receive royalties, the same privilege afforded to famous folks who create collaborative or signature shoes with sportswear giants.

However, unlike those mainstream propositions — previously exclusive relegated to the ultra-famous or ultra-ruch — Zellerfeld's self-described "YouTube of shoes" will distribute heightened payouts to its participants.

Schmitt laid out a conventional scheme wherein a big-time third-party collaborator might receive, at most, 15 percent of the sales of each sneaker sold from their partnership with one of the world's sneaker giants. That's business as usual.

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this Instagram post.

Zellerfeld, however, is granting users 60 percent of the profits from each shoe sold. Think about it: if your $200 Zellerfeld sneaker is purchased 1,000 times, you'd receive about $120,000 in gross royalties.

That's Zellerfeld's upshot.

There are some wrinkles, like realities of fabrication — Zellerfeld encourages would-be sneaker entrepreneurs to pay $10 for a place in its soon-to-be-crowded production queue — and limitations of the tech.

For instance, though Zellerfeld sneakers can replicate a variety of textures and weights, they can only be printed in single hues for now. A multitude of colors combos and patterns are in development.

Zellerfeld aims to win the "war in the footwear industry" by giving users the ability to create their own perfect shoes in perpetuity. Certainly, the promise is there: the number of foam slip-ons and slides worn every day is evidence that consumers have little issue giving up laces and organic materials like suede.

But will the sneaker-shopping world so readily abandon all of its conventions for alien shoes that hardly resemble the sneakers of old? Is this, as Schmitt claims, 3D-printing's Amazon moment, wherein an upstart challenger uproots all the old stalwarts with unforeseen access?

It will certainly be comfortable, at least.

We Recommend
  • Miu Miu's New Balance Dad Shoes Look Even Better in Leather (EXCLUSIVE)
    • Sneakers
  • Botter's Genius Reebok Line Is For the Youth (EXCLUSIVE)
    • Sneakers
  • Aleali May Conquered Sneakers. Jewelry Is Next (EXCLUSIVE)
    • Style
  • Issey Miyake's Debut New Balance Shoe Is Beautifully Barefoot (EXCLUSIVE)
    • Sneakers
  • Merrell 1TRL Has Perfected Packable Footwear (EXCLUSIVE)
    • Sneakers
What To Read Next
  • Get Ready, Set, Ride! It's "Bike Air" Jordan Time
    • Sneakers
  • Stüssy Took Nike's Most Elderly Sneaker from Great to Gold
    • Sneakers
  • Valentino Launches Hard-to-Get ‘Haute Couture’ Fragrance
    • Beauty
  • The Jordan 4 "Skate Shoes" Can't Stop Looking Good
    • Sneakers
  • Under The Radar: Tanner Fletcher
    • Style
  • Emma Corrin & Rami Malek Are OOO & Dressing Like It
    • Style
*If you submitted your e-mail address and placed an order, we may use your e-mail address to inform you regularly about similar products without prior explicit consent. You can object to the use of your e-mail address for this purpose at any time without incurring any costs other than the transmission costs according to the basic tariffs. Each newsletter contains an unsubscribe link. Alternatively, you can object to receiving the newsletter at any time by sending an e-mail to info@highsnobiety.com

Web Accessibility Statement

Titel Media GmbH (Highsnobiety), is committed to facilitating and improving the accessibility and usability of its Website, www.highsnobiety.com. Titel Media GmbH strives to ensure that its Website services and content are accessible to persons with disabilities including users of screen reader technology. To accomplish this, Titel Media GmbH tests, remediates and maintains the Website in-line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which also bring the Website into conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Disclaimer

Please be aware that our efforts to maintain accessibility and usability are ongoing. While we strive to make the Website as accessible as possible some issues can be encountered by different assistive technology as the range of assistive technology is wide and varied.

Contact Us

If, at any time, you have specific questions or concerns about the accessibility of any particular webpage on this Website, please contact us at accessibility@highsnobiety.com, +49 (0)30 235 908 500. If you do encounter an accessibility issue, please be sure to specify the web page and nature of the issue in your email and/or phone call, and we will make all reasonable efforts to make that page or the information contained therein accessible for you.