Why is the Future in 3D-Printed Footwear?

Tuesday Bote - February 1, 2021


These aren’t your average, ordinary, garden-variety kicks: Oliver Cabell’s Phoenix sneakers make the notion of “sustainable wearables” a viable reality


Since 2016, Oliver Cabell has become a brand of choice for those seeking high-quality footwear that adheres to the highest international shoemaking standards while ensuring that make each pair through ethically-sound manufacturing practices paired with sustainably-sourced materials. Indeed, it is a brand much praised by those who have chosen to add stylish, versatile, and highly durable leather sneakers (as well as boots, driving shoes, and even women’s flats) to their daily wardrobes. 

So it may come as a shock to its growing number of fans that the brand has come up with 3D-printed shoes made of upcycled plastics. Ludicrous, you say? Believe us when we say it’s not as crazy as it sounds – and it could be the way forward for the global shoemaking industry and the world of fashion.

3D-Printed Sneakers: Starting a Revolution in the Shoemaking Scene

Oliver Cabell Phoenix White sneakers combine technological innovation with classic design in a shoe that delivers on both comfort and quality


Introduced in August 2019, Oliver Cabell’s Phoenix line ushered in a technologically-savvy new era for the brand through the creation of shoes that stood for four fundamental company values:

Technological Innovation for Optimal Efficiency

Tech advocates who are firmly in favor of 3D printing are right when they say that it is the way forward. This innovative approach cuts down on production time and costs, especially when creating sole unit molds. These molds are among the most expensive items to produce when it comes to shoe manufacturing. 


In practice, each mold can set most commercial cobblers back by $1,000 each – and you need to create just one for each foot size – and production will take at least a month. 3D printing takes this out of the equation: smaller shoemakers can easily create soles for a fraction of the cost and in considerably less time. 

The Way Forward - Oliver Cabell Phoenix Sneakers


In Oliver Cabell’s case, it is a different way of approaching its longstanding commitment to quality and delivering on the promise of great-looking and well-made footwear – one that’s faster and certainly more cost-effective.

Emphasis on Style and Comfort


As with all of the brand’s other sneaker styles, the Phoenix was created not only to look good but to feel good on one’s feet. It may have been produced differently from, say, Oliver Cabell’s classic Low 1 and Gat lines. Still, it bears the distinctive aesthetic: a streamlined silhouette beautifully contoured to the wearer’s foot with an interior engineered to keep the toes, soles, heels, and ankles comfortable when walking or running.

Engineered for comfort and style - Oliver Cabell Phoenix sneakers


Commitment to Sustainability and Responsibility for the Environment


Upcycling is a fundamental tenet in the creation of the Phoenix. Many of us are aware that many articles of clothing, particularly waterproof outdoor wear and winter wear, are now being made using fabrics spun and woven from recycled plastics. The principle is similar in the Phoenix sneaker’s case. They make each shoe’s uppers using a yarn spun from crushed and upcycled plastic water bottles. 


It generally takes fourteen water bottles – practically seven bottles per shoe – to make a pair of Phoenix sneakers. The used bottles are all ferried to Oliver Cabell’s workshops, where these are washed and pulverized. The crushed plastic is then processed to make a flexible and durable yarn that gets spun into an industrial printer to weave each shoe’s upper portion.


Not only does this help reduce the carbon footprint of the company’s host communities, but the shoes themselves are a visible admonition regarding single-use plastics and how we should significantly scale back on their use. 


What Sets the Phoenix Apart from Other Sneakers?

Because of the upcycled water-bottle yarn used to make them, Phoenixes are surprisingly lightweight yet sturdy and durable. These qualities make it the perfect pair to tote along whenever you’re traveling. And, believe it or not, they’re machine washable


What makes the Phoenix unique from other shoes isn’t just the materials or the method used to make it. Oliver Cabell carefully considered every aspect of the shoe’s design to deliver the ultimate in comfort – and they are also surprisingly hygienic. 

Let’s take a look at each element of the Phoenix:

Lightweight for optimal mobility


Given the material used to spin and weave the Phoenix, it isn’t surprising that it is considerably lighter than most conventional sneakers. Likewise, the injection-molded EVA outsole is sturdy and hard-wearing, but it is also made lighter to help you move faster and easier.

Surprising durability

The unique nature of the plastic yarn used and the distinctive layered printing process used for weaving the shoes’ uppers, enable the finished product to withstand a good deal of wear and tear.

Cool and comfortable inside and out

The 3D printed uppers help keep things breezy on the outside, while the microfiber tongue keeps your feet nice and cool. Inside, your feet are comfortably cushioned by a puffy, cloud-like, and removable insole that makes you feel like you’re walking on air. Socks are totally optional when you wear Phoenixes.

Built-in odor control

Each shoe in the Phoenix line is made with an antibacterial lining that kills off any microorganisms that will keep your kicks from smelling as fresh as a daisy.

Machine washable

While you need special kits to take care of most of your Oliver Cabells, the Phoenix is less demanding when it comes to keeping them clean. You can simply chuck them into the washing machine – cotton laces and all – to wash them thoroughly. Oh, and don’t worry about the insoles: those are machine-washable, too. 


Reasonably priced

People who appreciate quality know that it may come at a premium price. The Phoenix sneakers fall into a very democratic Oliver Cabell price range: just around $100 for a pair. In which case, it becomes a great sneaker to consider for those who are learning to appreciate premium footwear but don’t exactly have the means to purchase more extravagantly priced selections.

Two Distinctive Styles for People of Distinction

In black or white, the Phoenix has a distinctive look that makes it stand out both on city streets and on country paths – a go-anywhere shoe with plenty of style

The Phoenix is currently available in two colorways that are bound to suit your personality and lifestyle.

  • Phoenix White

This variant is a perennial favorite among fashion-watchers and style influencers since 2019 launching.  The white colorway exudes a classic look that pairs well with simple classics like a white T-shirt over vintage denim jeans, or if your style skews more towards the preppy look, a white polo shirt over khaki or black yachting shorts. It’s just the thing to wear for casual walks or weekend afternoons with friends.

  • Phoenix Black

Since we’re already on the subject of where – and when – best to wear your Phoenixes, we can safely say that you can wear your black Phoenixes just about everywhere and at any time. With a black upper and white EVA sole, the black Phoenix offers more flexibility for pairing with your outfits. 


Head to work in style and comfort with Oliver Cabell Phoenix Black sneakers


Are you heading to work? Slip these on to go with an ensemble of dark trousers and a matching blazer or suit jacket paired with a crisp white shirt. Are you heading out for a night on the town? Wear these with slim-fit denims and a solid-colored T-shirt.

Smart, Stylish, and Sustainable: That’s Oliver Cabell

With its increasingly diverse line of footwear for men and women, it isn’t surprising that Oliver Cabell is becoming a by-word for exceptional quality, ethical practices, fair pricing, and sustainability in modern footwear

Since 2016, Oliver Cabell has established itself as a forward-thinking shoemaker that is constantly creating fresh designs looking out for smarter innovations even as it adheres to time-honored traditions and disciplines in the art and practice of Italian shoemaking.

More than just another commercial cobbler, this independent shoe brand offers a thoughtfully considered mix of classic craftsmanship, modern innovation, and cutting edge style. On one side, it’s perennially in-demand leather sneakers are crafted by hand using techniques passed on by generations of Italian shoemakers, masters of their craft who established the high standards for durability, practicality, comfort, and design. On the other hand, revolutionary manufacturing techniques like 3D printing pave the way for a new age in shoemaking, significantly reducing time and costs without compromising the finished product’s quality and integrity.

Oliver Cabell cares about the environment. This makes the company choose to maximize the potential of sustainably-sourced and upcycled materials to create footwear of exceptional quality for its customers anywhere – and everywhere – in the world. Plus, it knows that its people are the true key to its continued success, so employees are treated fairly and compassionately.

Oliver Cabell is more than just another shoe brand; it’s a brand that offers a different way of thinking about looking at the world around you.