Sneakers are also among the clothing products that are often discarded after a short lifespan. The complicated construction and the use of different materials (rubber, textile, various plastics, etc.) make it almost impossible and unprofitable to disassemble and recycle a pair of trainers after use.
Sneature is the design of a waste-based sneaker. Upcycled waste- and raw materials were explored which led to the develpment of a biological material cycle for a sneaker. The use of additive manufacturing methods, such as 3D printing or 3D knitting, enable both individualization and on-demand production with the lowest possible energy consumption.
Reducing the product to its minimal components, it consists of a membrane made of chiengora (yarn made from canine hair), a transitional area made of natural rubber, and a sole made of mushroom mycelium. After use, Sneature is biodegradable and can be returned as nutrients to the natural material cycle.
Therefore the sneaker was segmented into functional and structural areas (membrane, transition, sole) to be able to implement the tested materials in a suitable way, taking into account the functional properties of the different areas.
The digital manufacturing processes such as 3D knitting or 3D printing enable an integration into local production processes. They also allow an on demand production, but also a customisation of the product within the designed framework.
Emilie Burfeind recently graduated as a material designer from University of Art and Design Offenbach, Germany. In her final project "Sneature" she explored the use of organic raw and waste materials for the application in a sneaker. Using ecological, renewable and living materials such as mushroom mycelium or dog hair, she tries to develop new material concepts for the future and thus show potential solutions. She is currently lecturing at the Institute for Material Design (IMD) led by Prof. Dr. Markus Holzbach.