3D Print On Demand Shoes | Ultimate Guide


It’s no wonder that 3D print on demand shoes are the future of shoe technology. This printing technology has revolutionized FMCG companies and the shoe industry, becoming widely used in the manufacturing and designing process. 

As follows, we’ve written an ultimate article on everything you need to know about 3D print on demand shoes.

If you’re interested in this revolutionary printing method, keep reading, and you won’t regret it.

Let’s dive in!

Is It Possible To 3D Print Shoes On Demand?

Yes, you can easily print shoes on your 3D printer, and the process of doing so is straightforward. Since modern 3D printers can mix PVC for printing, you can easily print the sole and upper portion of the shoes from your 3D printer. 

Below, we’ve mentioned some things to consider while performing this process.


Before printing your shoes, it’s essential to consider which material you want to choose. If you have experience in this market, you might know that a particular type of PVC is used to print shoes with the 3D printer.

However, you can still use regular generic PVC without any problem. It’ll still work. But, if you plan to go commercial, it’s better to choose the unique PVC balls dedicated to shoe printing. The shoes’ PVC balls are specially designed to give ergonomics to the person wearing them. On the other hand, regular PVC will also work but not show you the same comfort as footwear PVC balls. 


Of course, to create your 3D print on demand shoes, you need a design and a blueprint of your shoe. You can’t just take a ruler and draw them. You need a professional shoe layout to sell or casually wear your printed shoes. 

If you’re a shoe designer, then it’s a plus point as you’ll save on the cost of service. Otherwise, you can hire any freelancer from platforms such as Fiverr (Level 2 recommended) and Upwork.

Freelancers are highly economical and offer up-to-the-mark quality, even better than your local graphic design agency. 

Local graphic design agencies are costly and don’t offer the quality of a professional seller on freelancing platforms.


To print your shoes, you need a 3D printer. You can find any 3D printer that suits your needs and budget in the market. If you need it for commercial purposes, you should consider good quality and reliable printer.

If you need it for personal usage, better not spend too much money on it. It’s your liability. You can buy any small or regular-sized printer that can get the job done.

How Much Do 3D-Printed Shoes Cost?

The cost of the 3D printer fluctuates according to the profit percentage you want to achieve and the manufacturing cost you can sustain. Let’s consider the following factors:

Printer Cost

The cost of the printer is proportional to the quality of the printer. Good quality, large-size, and reliable printers are always more expensive than small, unreliable, and average-quality printers. And the printer cost also affects the sales of your 3D printed shoes initially, which turns into lower margins. 

Raw Material

Raw materials also play a significant factor in the overall MRP of 3D printer shoes. If the manufacturer uses specific PVC for shoes, the shoe price will be higher. However, if the manufacturer uses regular generic PVC balls, you might pay a low MPR for that shoe. Additionally, the upper portion of the shoes that covers the feet also affects the MRP of the shoe. 


Design expenses are proportional to the manufacturing cost of the shoes. We all know that good and stylish shoe designs require the efforts of professional designers, which involves additional fees and lower margins from sales. 

Also, suppose the design of the shoes requires additional detailing, like extra color, more accessories like beads, artificial pearls, and other decorating materials. In that case, of course, you’ll have to increase the MRP to cover the cost of those accessories. 

PVC Requirement

Every design, size, and type of shoe requires a different amount of raw PVC for printing. If the shoe is open like a wedge, sandal, or flip-flop, then the shoe’s weight will range between 230-350 gm (per shoe). However, if the shoe is close-toed, such as a sneaker, moccasin, or jogger, the shoe weight will range between 340 and 480 gm (per shoe). And, of course, more weight equals more raw PVC, which eventually increases the MRP of that shoe.


What Are 3D Printed Shoes Made Of?

3D print on demand shoes is usually made up of PVC. However, the type of PVC may differ according to the price and quality of the shoe. If the MRP of the shoe is low and under budget, the manufacturer might have used generic 3D-printed PVC beans. 

On the other hand, if the manufacturer has used dedicated shoe-making PVCC beans, then they might charge you extra money to cover the cost of those expensive materials.

That's why we highly recommend you purchase shoes made up of shoe-making PVC balls.

It’s because they are highly comfortable, ergonomic, and last much longer than generic PVC beans. The generic beans aren’t designed for shoes. They are not durable and are very comfortable.

Generic PVC Balls

  • extremely hard, like metal. Souls made up of these beans are complex and highly uncomfortable
  • It is unreliable and can quickly wear and tear if scratched on metal and hard concrete surfaces
  • Overall, not good nor bad in the quality

Shoe Ball PVC Beans

  • Those balls are incredibly soft, like rubber. Soles made up of these beans are usually comfortable and are suitable for regular usage.
  • They are reliable and last much longer than generic PVC balls.
  • Overall, they are perfect for commercial shoe printing.

How Long Does It Take To 3D Print Shoes?

The usual timing for printing 3D print on demand shoes may range from 5–30 hours depending on the shoe size, type, and design of the shoes. If your shoe is open like a wedge, high heel, or flip flop, the printer will do the task in less than 8 hours. 

However, if the shoe is close to a moccasin, sneaker, boot, or jogger, the printer may require at least 12–29 hours to finish. 

Additionally, if the design of your shoes is complex, it’ll add extra time to the end. 

The printing speed also depends on your printer and its model. If the printer is intended for commercial purposes, its speed will be better than personal and small printers. The printing speed depends on how fast the arms of the printing mechanism can move.

Tips For 3D Printing Shoes

Below, we’ve mentioned some useful tips to summarize what we’ve said so far.

  • If 3D print-on-demand shoes are your business, then it’s better to invest in a printer that can make the job done faster and take less time. It’ll save you time and allow you to create more shoes in a short period.
  • If you need it for personal usage, you can consider buying a slow and small printer. It’s because such printers are always low in cost and will save you money as well.
  • The timing required to print the shoe isn’t a printer defect; it’s physics. It’s not your computer’s CPU or HDD. A 3D printer works mechanically, so time is a significant factor in the mechanical system. 

Which Company Printed The First 3D Shoes?

It’s unknown. Or you can say nobody knows who was the first person or company to print the world’s first-ever 3D printed shoe. However, we know that Nike and Adidas were the first companies to use 3D printers to print shoes commercially.

In 2013, Nike installed 3D printers in their factory, and they were the first company that used 3D printers to produce consumer products. You can say that Nike was the trend starter, and since then, 3D printed shoes have become so popular. At the point that today this business type has become a proper small-scale business industry.

Is There Any Demand For 3D printing?

Yes, 3D print on demand shoes aren’t going anywhere, or for at least till 2040. 3D printing is the future of printing, or you can say, the evolving type of printing. We moved from black and white to color images, and 3D printing is the next printing technology.


If you’re looking to start a new business or want a future-proof business plan, this article is for you.

We've written an ultimate guide on everything you need to know about 3D print on demand shoes: what they are, how this business works, and a comprehensive general guide.

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Print On Demand World Staff

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