N+ Open Bike Shoe Platform

Additive-enabled, modular bike shoes made with a 3D printer and a sewing machine.

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3D Printed Bike Shoe, what it do.

A cycling shoe is horrific to dispose of due to the embedded carbon fiber shank. Making a performance shoe that can be broken back down into its replacable components, servicing the worn or stinky parts, and put back together will keep shoes out of the landfill. It's an exploration of what might come with more widespread additive on-demand manufacturing.

This is a 3D-print-enabled shoe platform that explores the future of manufacturing and products. It lets makers tune and modify a shoe to their exact needs, and change it when it no longer suits them. It's a sustainable project because the worn out portions can be re-extruded into stock for their replacements. The removable textile uppers can be repaired and tailored to fit, and swapped out to suit the riding conditions.

The concept could easily be simplified and applied to regular footwear by replacing the carbon fiber core with a more pliable material.


Portfolio entry of the project and shoe up to this point.

Various process shots and documentation

YouTube Intro


Cycling shoes cost a fortune, and serve a very specific fit and function. I wanted to make an alternative to consumer shoes that could be produced using a 3D printer, sewing machine and other readily available bits. The shoe was to be customizable - so that anyone could adjust it to fit their weird feet, or modify the treads to suit their next adventures terrain. The textile uppers of the shoe would have to be removable and come together without adhesives, to that they could be easily serviced and modified. 

Because riders are often needing good shoes in different seasons, or conditions ranging from mud and snow, dirt and dust, or asphalt, the idea of an open shoe platform took shape. For now I've got a single simple upper and set of treads but I'm looking for collaborators who want to give it a shot and see where we can take it. Here's looking at YOU Adidas / Five.Ten FUTURECRAFT.

This shoe is in development. Now that the deadlines of the project are limitless I've been giving it lots of thought and little action. It will pick up again soon, so show some interest if you'd like to see more! Please gimme a follow on @milkywilky on instagram or twitter


AT THIS MOMENT the parametric file is not easily shared, but anyone who wants to get plugged into the Fusion360 project and help to tidy it, please reach out. 

See what I mean with the full file here 



As an open source platform I imagine this project growing into something like Rep Rap or OpenRC, with potential to monetize it along the way. If some tire companies wanted to start casting rubber treads, that's coo. If some composite companies want to start producing carbon cores, that's coo. If apparel and footwear companies want to sell some standalone uppers suited to stitch onto the N+ platform, that IS COOL - I think of it like a new, unique tire size made the way you want it.

Thanks for looking!

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 18.01 MB - 11/07/2017 at 08:33


Standard Tesselated Geometry - 45.28 MB - 11/07/2017 at 08:25


Standard Tesselated Geometry - 4.13 MB - 11/07/2017 at 08:24


Standard Tesselated Geometry - 4.89 MB - 11/07/2017 at 08:24


Standard Tesselated Geometry - 2.23 MB - 11/07/2017 at 08:24


View all 24 files

  • 3 × Insert 'nubs' Printed from PLA
  • 3 × Heat-set inserts - M3 x 0.5mm, 3.8mm length McMaster Carr #94180A331
  • 1 × Heel tread Printed from Cheetah TPU
  • 1 × Mid-heel Printed from ASA
  • 1 × SilverTip Epoxy I used the longer working time

View all 13 components

  • Thingiversion

    marcs11/07/2017 at 09:09 0 comments

    I've put some files up on Thingiverse - but the orientation is wrong! Will fix it soon.

  • Designing Textile Uppers (Diodedora) Livestream

    marcs10/29/2017 at 22:01 1 comment

    #DIODEDORA - an Ode to Diadora

    I'm making a tribute shoe to a beat out pair of Diadoras I've got. I've put a few clips up on my YouTube from a livestream. Sorry for the missing chunk, but I didn't download it from the Instagram stream. I'll put something together when I model up the sole. 

    Subscribe on YouTube


    marcs10/22/2017 at 05:53 0 comments


    Please sub up and I'll try to do some more!

  • Inside / Out

    marcs10/21/2017 at 10:07 0 comments

    Here is the bottom of the assembled shoe.

    The ASA frame inside gets covered by the insole.

  • Ready to bag core

    marcs10/21/2017 at 10:01 0 comments

  • Presentation

    marcs10/16/2017 at 07:46 0 comments

    The kit as I imagine it could be sold as;

    • Resin & Stirrer
    • Carbon Fiber woven cloth
    • Hardware
    • Bar-ends with USB for print file storage


    marcs10/16/2017 at 07:34 0 comments

    The proof is in the pudding. So was I able to achieve the intended outcomes with a DIY shoe? Well if you've read the report than you know the answer, but in a nice visual bit of punch here it is...

    This shoes that the test shoe (N+ v1) was only a few degrees less stiff than a commercial cycling shoe (Pearl Izumi X-Alp) and a few degrees stiffer than a worn out old Salomon trail runner!

    Not bad for a first go.

  • Presenting N+ Platform

    marcs10/16/2017 at 07:09 0 comments

    I had a chance to share my project alongside my peers and someone caught this video. I answer a few questions toward the end, so show some love for those who don't believe in the viability of open-source!

    2017 Product Design Grad Presentation - Marc Wilkinson from Wilson School of Design at KPU on Vimeo.

  • Explaining Concept

    marcs10/16/2017 at 07:07 0 comments

    This is a series of posters I prepared to present to concept to peers. Please comment if anything needs clarification!

  • Sketching

    marcs10/16/2017 at 07:00 0 comments

    Because I'm a designer I have worked through a lot of ideas for aesthetics and some of the messier central sketches, began to develop ideas about how a system might work. 

    Modular shoes, right? Let the facebook shares begin... ugh.

    But I think for a cycling shoe it has merit. I have 5 bikes, 5! Like many bikers I follow the N+1 bike formula, where N= the number of bikes you have , N+1= the number you need. The idea of dropping a couple hund' on a pair of shoes for each discipline and season makes me shutter, and the used bike shoe market is best left unexplored. I'm going to design a rigid core to which the user can attach various treads, textile uppers, and midsole/insoles around to make a tuneable shoe - because as a cyclist there's nothing greater than dialing in the right bike for the right trail, everything just *sings*.

View all 11 project logs

  • 1
    Print parts for core

    Print the mold and nub inserts. Heat-set the threaded brass inserts into the nubs

  • 2
    Lay up carbon fiber core.

    Guide for making Core version 1

    I did a few layers, then placed the nubs in. It helps to poke the allen key through the bottom of the mold and through the weave, then chase it with the bolt. tighten the nubs securely into place, continue applying layers then bag it.

    If you have access to a vacuum pump, you can use whatever technique you're comfortable with. I tried a few solutions using 3D printed parts and a venturi valve, but in the end I used a generic brand foodsaver that was on sale at Walmart. Not the best infusion but weight was still good. 

  • 3
    Customize Fusion model to foot shape using parameter table and sketch

    Basic size adjustments respond quite well within a few sizes (will tighten up next version_ but major changes to the footprint can create issues downstream.

View all 8 instructions

Enjoy this project?



marcs wrote 10/28/2017 at 16:16 point

Just a note, I'll be going through the process of designing a shoe this weekend (28/29) on The Instagram Might try to catch some of it for a YouTube incase you miss it so check there.

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