Late last year, Heron Preston and Zellerfeld tested the depths of 3D-printed sustainability through their slip-on HERON01 sneaker. The first drop, titled Version 0.8, was released to a group of beta testers by way of a raffle. But after digging deep into the beta tester feedback, the two are ready to present the new and improved HERON01 sneaker known as Version 0.81.
It’s back and it’s better — Most of the feedback spoke on the shoe’s fit, form, and function, allowing the sneaker’s design and structure to be reimagined in the second round. The updated Version 0.81 has an improved collar shape and roomier toe box that allows for an easier fit. A reduced material usage helps create a shoe that doesn’t weigh you down, and the upper is softer so it won’t irritate your skin if you go sockless.
Feedback analysis also led the team to give the shoe a higher heel inclination and improved arch support. The midsole was optimized to be more supportive, and the exterior is still given that scaly texture. At the forefoot sits a lifted “HP” in a hint of minimal branding. Shoppers can choose their standard shoe size or use a foot scanner to truly personalize the fit.
Step into 3D — Any alterations to the shoe’s DNA were relatively easy to do given the customization capabilities of 3D printing, a process adopted by other sneaker designers. The optimizations can be done through the software and then immediately printed, as opposed to a more traditional footwear design process that takes months of trial and error on physical products and materials. The process also allows Heron Preston to adhere to the customizations without putting a huge dent in the manufacturing costs.
Zellerfeld, which was founded in 2015 by a group of engineering students, will also be using the second HERON01 update to expand its footwear beta program. The company plans to add beta testers to its process on a regular basis, which will not only increase the access to products, but also provide more feedback. Alongside the custom printed footwear, Zellerfeld will eventually expand into sports performance wear with a goal to learn more about the athletic potential of 3D-printed gear.
Zellerfeld has created an app for iOS devices to apply for the program, scan your feet, and order the tester. The test pairs of HERON01 Version 0.81 have a price tag of $350 and also include one free update when the time comes. Once your sneaker has reached the end of its life cycle, you provide feedback and return the used pair for analysis and recycling. It may not be the most complex-looking sneaker, but it certainly is innovative.