3D sole design + printing


After the success of our 3D printing intro weekend in collaboration with FUSED footwear, we are now presenting a more intensive course for footwear designers that want to learn how to design their own midsoles/outsoles (or heels) in Rhino and want to be able to make in-house prototypes or even fully wearable soles for their own sneaker line. There will be two editions of this course, one in Hong Kong at Makerhive and one in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, at Lay3rs

 The class is taught by 3D design veteran Philippe Holthuizen, who combines his experience as a footwear designer for brands like United Nude - who are known for their advanced application of 3D printing  - with a broad background in digital creation methods.  With his brand FUSED footwear he is creating custom sneakers that are fully 3D printed. Check his Instagram to see how his soles hold up after months of daily wear!

The focus of the course will be on learning how to design sole units in Rhino, a software package that is widely used, highly advanced, yet relatively affordable. Its format is also the base for many of the much more expensive footwear specific 3D design packages; once you know Rhino, those are very easy to learn. Rhino is an ideal package for designers who want to have unlimited design freedom and be able to make designs that are compatible with any other design system on the market.


For those who want to learn how to make high heels there is also the option to practice that. Each participant will 3D print at least one prototype of their sole (or heel), experiencing how to prepare their 3D design in a slicer - free software that defines the settings for your print - and printing it in flexible or rigid material on an affordable FDM printer. After the course each participant has all the necessary skills to set up their own system for 3D design and printing at their own office. 


Rhino is also suitable to design entire shoes, but in this course we focus only on making sole units, also learning about how soles are manufactured in the process. You will learn how to make your design suitable to be moulded, unless you specifically have the intention to only make it with a 3D printer. Besides learning how to print a physical prototype you will also experience how to professionally visualise your design, adding colours and textures. 


We will provide a digital last to work on in class, if you have your own digital last you would like to work on then please send this to us ahead of time so we can check if the file is suitable. You can already work on a sole for your company while in class, that is the whole purpose of the week!


Check the video below to learn more about 3D printing and prototyping and to see the quality of the soles and shoes you will print in the course:

course program:

Monday: introduction to Rhino, adjusting a digital last to your own liking

Tuesday: how to design a heel or a basic sole unit

Wednesday: designing a more complicated sole unit and 3D printing theory

Thursday: practicing with the software and learning how to add colour and texture, practicing with printing

Friday: practicing with the software and 3D printing


course details:


Level: This is an intermediate level course, meant for professional footwear designers that already know at least the basics of how shoes are constructed. You do not need prior knowledge of 3D software, yet it is an advantage if you already have some experience in digital design, for instance with Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. We generally do not recommend this course for people who have no prior knowledge of digital design at all.

Requirements: participants are required to bring their own laptop with a fully functioning version of Rhino 6.0 (PC) or Rhino 5.0 (for Mac) already installed. If you want to try Rhino before you buy it, you can download a fully functional trial version that is valid for 90 days. You will also need a mouse (not a trackpad!). 

Duration: 5 days, from 9:00 - 18:00 with 90 minutes lunch break

Maximum number of participants: 10

Teacher: Philippe Holthuizen


course dates, locations and prices:


November 12 - 16, 2018

Hong Kong - Makerhive, 10th Floor, Cheung Hing Industrial Building, 12P Smithfield, Kennedy Town, HK 


December 17 - 21, 2018

The Netherlands - Lay3rs, Grote Berg 60, 5611 KL Eindhoven



For the course in Eindhoven: €2000 (excluding 21% VAT, if applicable)

For the course in HK: HKD18500 (VAT not applicable)

50% of the course price needs to be paid upon registration and the other 50% needs to be paid before the course starts. If the course does not happen because there are not enough participants, we will refund that. We will notify you at least 21 days prior to the course dates. 


Included in the course price: printing materials used in class

Not included in the course price: food and beverage, flight tickets, hotel accommodation, transportation to and from the course location. Generally no visa are required to enter HK or The Netherlands. If you come from a country that does require a visa we can provide you with an invitation letter. 


How to apply: please send an email with your CV (LinkedIn profile) and short motivation to join this course to [email protected]


Possible extras:

Philippe has his own 3D printed shoe brand FUSED footwear. During the course you will be able to order your own pair at a special price.