Auxetic Wear

A shoe that adapts to the foot – not the other way around. A reinterpretation of a classic design.
By utilizing an auxetic structure, the boot adapts itself to the ergonomics of its wearers’ feet by expanding or compressing on a local level.

Learning from classic shoemaker craft, we created a pattern comprising of two-dimensional shapes that are very effective for 3D printing due to their low profile.

Project assistant: Rebecca Meixner

Research and Experiments

Auxetic structures have the property of expanding bidirectionally as soon as a tensile force is applied to them – perfect for ergonomic forms. Various textures were created and tested in different materials. We finally decided to use 3D printing as a manufacturing method.

Designing a shoe pattern

To create an organic shape, a base structure had to be created, similar to a skeleton. It gives the design its final form, serves as reinforcement where the individual parts come together, and supports the auxetic structure.

Creating support within a structure

Different options to reinforce the structure were tested, varying from linking elements within, generatively altering the dimension of the pattern to simply adding a supporting lattice.


The project is based on a classic shoe design, so we decided early on to combine it with an existing sole. This allowed us to focus our efforts on the base pattern, the manufacturing process and testing different materials.

3D printed shoe pattern

The individual parts are produced with a strong TPU (shore 98A), the auxetic structure is printed including its reinforcement. They are glued together and then stitched onto the existing sole – very much combining traditional craft with modern technologies. The final design was refined in many iterations.

Making of

Final model