Product designer Michele di Carlo conceptualized the 3D-printed 4Steps sneakers for kids aged between 6 and 14, and designed them to grow with their feet. These shoes are adjustable, customizable, and sustainable. 

These versatile sneakers has been di Carlo’s project since 2017. He finally crafted a prototype made with Filafex filament, a type of thermoplastic polyurethane, to give the shoes their softness, durability, and ligthness. These sneakers weigh just around 123 grams and feature a sock crafted from a 3D technical fabric utilized in automotive applications.

They also have molded parts with a honeycomb structure that enhanced the overall visual appeal, as well as add to the breathability and lightness of the shoes. The 4Steps is designed to last for nearly five years with every component designed to be easily disassembled and replaced for the purpose of repair and recycling, when needed.

It is customizable so kids can choose the styles for the sides and uppers, as well as add personalized logos or characters or change the color. When the child’s feet grows, simply swap out the sections through disassembly and reassembly. These sneakers feature retractable heels for easy adjustment to different shoe sizes.

Moreover, an elastic string system enables easy adjustments through unclipping and clipping the strings to get the desired fit. There’s also an option to add a layer of insulation to provide warmth against the cold, while the breathable mesh uppers keep the feet comfortable under the heat.

The 4Steps sneakers is currently in the concept and prototyping phase but it’s fruition would definitely help tackle the challenge of children outgrowing their shoes as they grow. It will also help address concerns about eco-sustainability in the footwear industry.

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Images courtesy of Michele di Carlo