Puma is developing a breathing shoe – with the help of bacteria.
Every human being, particularly while participating in sports, sweats differently. That everyone’s sweat glands don’t exactly work the same way isn’t a revolutionary notion, nor is it something that should keep you up at night, and yet Puma is striving to incorporate this fact into its future designs.
We all appreciate the inherent difficulty of creating a shoe that is well suited for the unique needs of every person. Designers are constantly forced to compromise designs in order for them to work well for the largest number of people; design a shoe that is specifically suited to one particular foot and you have a shoe that isn’t likely to be comfortable for most others.
To tackle this problem as it applies to heat management, Puma explored the idea of building a shoe that could evolve with the foot wearing it.
It sounds like a radical proposal, but it gave birth to a project called BioEvolution and the collaboration between the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology, and Puma, to create a new wunder shoe.
BioEvolution explored the bio-technology field and the integration of microorganisms to achieve its goal.
The results of the project were presented at this year’s Milan Design Week. Puma revealed the Breathing Shoe, footwear that uses microorganisms in the shoe’s upper that actually removes some of the its material in areas were the most sweat was found.
The microorganisms in question, which include good bacteria, fungi, and micro algae, are drawn to heat. As your foot sweats and produces heat the organisms located there begin to selectively lighten the material in that part of the shoe, and as a result creates a one-of-a-kind cooling system.
In essence, a new pair of Breathing Shoes is a blank canvas ready for the wearer’s foot to customize its ventilation capabilities. As soon as you start to wear these Pumas they begin to evolve and become a personal expression of your feet.
Puma believes that BioEvolution is still in its infancy and plans to apply the technology to sport apparel as well. And although it’s not yet ready for mass production, Puma has stated that the adaptive Breathing Shoe will be a “near future” offering in its performance collection.