A 3D Printer That Molds Pointe Shoes To Your Feet

When you think of pointe shoes, you probably don't think of them as cozy. No matter how much tape you put on your feet, or how much moleskin you shove in there, they'll probably never be your favorite shoes! But now, it looks like technology is changing the game again, because there's now a 3D printer that's making a new kind of pointe shoe that is supposedly - dare we say - comfortable! 

Hadar Neeman, a graduate of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, first began to play with this idea after she noticed her dancer friend's tired, bruised and crooked feet (dancers, you know what we're talking about!). So she set out to create a new design of shoe, with the goal of fitting each individual dancer's foot, protecting the precious bones and tendons while being strong and long-lasting. Now, anyone who has ever danced en pointe knows that's a pretty tough order!

In an interview with Dezeen, a design magazine, Neeman says: "I learned about pointe shoes and the more I got into the field, the more I realized that there was a lot of potential for improving the existing shoe and improving the quality of life of the dancers," 

The first step in this technologically-advanced shoe is to get a scan of the specific dancer's foot - which you can do using an app on your phone! How futuristic is that? Then a "map" of the foot is created using a computer program. A mold that is the exact shape of the dancer's foot is created using a lightweight material, and the fabric is created on top of the mold by the printer, which means these shoes are free of glue or nails. 

Neeman has titled her project P-rouette, and has projected that the shoe will last up to three times longer than a traditional pointe shoe. So in addition to being less painful, you won't have to order (and then sew and break in) your pointe shoes as often - and that sounds pretty good to us!

About the author

Anne Luben has performed works by notable choreographers such as Donald McKayle, Bill T. Jones, Jiri Kylian, Idan Cohen, Alex Ketley, and Summer Lee Rhatigan, among others.