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It’s so much easier to recycle a shoe made from one kind of fabric than one that consists of more than 60 different parts. This realization inspired designer Ammo Liao to create the Bio-Knit shoe. To make the Bio-Knit shoe, one single material is processed in three different ways, all used in one shoe:

  • the material is woven and heated to form the upper,
  • the same material is laser-etched to form the inner,
  • and 3D-printed to create the sole.

In the same way that paper can be both stiff cardboard or a flexible envelope, Liao can change the physical properties of polymer by heating it. Heat changes the stiffness of the threads, so he can create a semi-rigid heel, but also a soft, sock-like texture for the other parts. Ultimately, Liao wanted to create shoes that are environmentally friendly and easy to recycle.