innovation & tech

What does the Future of Footwear look like?

The footwear industry is a massive and complex market, dominated by a few leading brands capturing most of the value created.However, a growing number of passionate footwear creators are seeking to make a name for themselves and disrupt the traditional brand-led ecosystem.

Hi, I’m Nicolas from Futures Factory, a design studio specialized into footwear and 3D-printing.

We also started FF to empower creators to design the future of footwear.

But what does the future of footwear look like? How would you envision it?

I have asked myself this question many times, as well as to each FF member and have gathered all of the answers within this article.

The Daft Punk working in a futuristic footwear factory by OpenAI

Back to the roots

The Sneaker culture has expanded everywhere. From basketball courts to the streets, from small independent retailers to the most luxurious stores.

What was a community-centric lifestyle and a sub-culture has become a huge industry with many complex ramifications.

Sneakers are no longer just products that will make you look good or be more performant, it’s a way to introduce yourself to the world.

This evolution has given birth to an increasing number of communities and to many passionate footwear creators who seek to make a name for themselves.

While the industry is growing considerably, it is still dominated by a few leading brands.

On the other hand, many designers, product makers, manufacturers and independent brands are creating their own journey, but the entry barriers are still pretty high.

These independent creators do not have access to the same resources, opportunities and visibility that big brands have.


What’s our vision for the Future of Footwear?

The footwear industry is a massive and complex market, dominated by a few leading brands capturing most of the value created.

However, a growing number of passionate footwear creators are seeking to make a name for themselves and disrupt the traditional brand-led ecosystem.

At Futures Factory, we believe that the future of footwear will be more and more driven by creators, customers, and new technologies.

One thing everyone can agree on is that independent designers, in-house footwear designers for major brands, footwear students, and emerging brands are all shaping the future of the footwear industry.

The role of the decentralized web

Web3 and NFTs can provide creators with the tools and resources they need to develop their ideas, offer small, custom, or on-demand batches of sneakers, test out products before manufacturing them, and link physical products to their digital twin.

Customers are an integral part of the future of footwear, and they are seeking stronger relationships with creators.

Web3 and NFTs can enable customers to experience their sneakers digitally and interactively while waiting for the physical product or just to prove that the consumers have been part of the creator’s journey.

In addition to all of the “social” and experiential utilities, some creators will leverage NFTs and fungible tokens to allow their community to not only purchase products, but also to become stakeholders and receive royalties from future sales.

Courtesy of the web3 footwear brand co-founded by Finn Rush-Taylor and Joey Khamis

Production wise

3D printing footwear production is expected by the FF team to play a significant role within the industry, offering personalization, customization, and sustainability while lowering barriers for creators.

Based on all our discussions with +50 footwear designers and sneakers fans, we don’t see the trend fading.

RacerX from JOSH GREY

Social media

On another note, we discussed the influence of social media on the future of footwear.

We realized that footwear creators often struggle to stand out and engage with their audience on social media if they are not playing by the algorithm rules.

They need platforms that highlight their work and support their creative vision without interfering between them and their fans.

Finally, we believe a growing part of sneakers enthusiasts will be less influenced by the ‘hype’ created by major brands & celebrities and will have a more curated approach towards smaller communities and independent creators as the entry barriers become lower.

Futures Factory’s place in the Future of Footwear

We believe that the future of footwear will be owned by creators, therefore, rather than trying to centralize it on one platform, we should provide the necessary tools and build an infrastructure that will allow Creators to thrive.

At Futures Factory, we are committed to empowering and building a collaborative community that supports and elevates promising footwear creators.

We aim to provide creators with the resources, technologies, and support they need to create their own unique products, with access to more efficient, cost-effective manufacturing processes.

These services can range from talent discovery, fundraising, and digital experiences, to manufacturing connections, logistics, and more.

We should provide consumers with AR, VR, and other ways of interacting digitally that go beyond just viewing pictures and videos.

We also strive to build an open and trusted platform that facilitates collaboration and provides creators with an opportunity to share their work with a larger audience.

Our goal is to construct a new framework that benefits both collectors and creators. By 2025, we aim to be the accelerator for the most promising footwear creators, supporting them with finance, web3 tools, and our community.

By bringing together creators, customers, and new technologies, we believe we can create a more accessible, transparent, and equitable footwear industry that empowers creators to design the future on their own terms.

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