GROWING FLIP FLOP
Using additive manufacturing techniques to create a flip flop that lasts indefinitely.
The objective of this project was to design a flip flop and its PSS using additive manufacturing.
How might we use AM techniques to design a sustainable flip flop and maximise its service life?
Environmental awareness is growing and there is a high demand for more sustainable clothing options. This is particularly prevalent in the children’s clothing sector as children grow significantly year-on-year which means that they require new items very regularly.
This project explores how we can use additive manufacturing to create a flip flop that can ‘grow’ with a child. Using a modular concept, this is a product service-system that enables users to maximise the amount of time that they can use the same pair of shoes; reducing waste.
Children between the ages of 6-12 have been selected as the target user because they experience a period of rapid growth in this phase. At this age, they are very inquisitive and enjoy things which are physically and visually engaging. They also like to feel some autonomy in being able to take control of their decisions, especially regarding their own belongings. It is therefore, imperative that the solution is able to incorporate these needs in order to be successful.
The solution is inspired by the growth of tree trunks; using the idea of modular ‘tree rings’ that can be added every year to increase the size of the shoe. The year of each layer’s addition is embossed into the sole to give a visual indication of the user’s growth and the colours of each new layer can be customised. These are intended to add an element of excitement and increase the sentimental value of the product where users might otherwise become bored and be tempted to replace it.
This example solution has been designed for a children’s UK size 3 with a second layer representing the expansion to a UK size 5. The ergonomics of the shoe have been developed using anthropometric data on children’s foot sizes from Research Gate.