Hush Puppies is getting stylish and high-tech as 3D printed lattices are set to feature in next year’s shoe line.
I wore Hush Puppies a lot as a kid; as a child of the ‘80s/’90s, that may not be the ringing fashionista endorsement it may initially sound like. I liked the company’s basset hound mascot. My mom liked that I’d keep my shoes on and not get blisters from them. It was as win/win as one might hope. As an adult, though, honestly I’d forgotten about Hush Puppies. They were a brand of my youth, and not one I’d ever thought of as being…well, fashionable.
The times, though, they are a-changing. Not only does Hush Puppies have really good looking shoes now (their website almost had me doing more shoe shopping than research), they’re embracing more than just the look of the 21st century. They’re embracing digital manufacturing.
Hush Puppies x Voxel8
This month, Voxel8 announced a collaboration with Hush Puppies, which is a brand of Wolverine Worldwide. Through this work, Voxel8 will bring the work it’s been focusing on advanced shoe manufacture with 3D printing technologies to the beloved basset hound.
Hush Puppies, already known for comfort — no “barking dogs” here after a long day on your feet — is set to reach new levels of wearability.
“Hush Puppies is excited to build on our history of comfort innovation with the Voxel8 partnership,” said Kate Pinkham, VP/GM of Hush Puppies. “The brand invented casual 60+ years ago and we are committed to bringing a fresh, innovative approach to the brand as we look to ‘Reinvent Casual’ for the next 60 years.”
Voxel8’s ActiveLab system will come into play for hardware, software, and advanced materials to create 3D printed lattice structures in Hush Puppies midsoles. The benefits of 3D printed lattices in shoe midsoles have started to become much better understood, largely following the success of the famed Carbon x adidas partnership. The capability of 3D printing to create more exactly structured lattices allows for a better manufacturing process getting support and comfort to the parts of the foot where they’re needed most.
“Our printed lattice structures with precisely tuned mechanical properties are being used as inserts in midsoles to provide enhanced shock absorption. Moreover, we have measured no change in the shock absorption and four times less thickness change after 100,000 cycles, as compared to traditional foams. Our sustainable and scalable technology transforms how footwear is developed and produced, with shorter design cycle times and no-tooling manufacturing. Our software-driven digital manufacturing opens the door to cost effective, customized designs in the future,” said Voxel8 CTO and Co-Founder Travis Busbee.
Voxel8, which received some notable funding in 2019 to drive its tech forward, seems keen to open the door into mass customization down the road.
The collaboration will see production capabilities ramp up at Voxel8’s facility in Massachusetts before expanding into volume production in Asia. We should see the first Hush Puppies made with Voxel8 tech on the market in 2022.
Maybe it’s time to revisit Hush Puppies.