Outsole samples

Hi guys,

I am currently designing a snow shoe for a university project and I am encountering some difficulty with the outsole sample. I am able to create a prototype in the Universities workshop facilities though 3d printing a model of the sole, creating a silicone mould and then casting the final sole, my issue is that I have a 3 week turnaround schedule and due to workshop demand might not be able to get this done in time.

Do you guys have any alternative solutions? How do you create sample outsoles for sampling? Is there a semi-flexible material I could cut up which would allow for a reasonable surface finish? Can you point me in the direction of a company who could complete this process in quicker than 3 weeks (or at least the moulding/casting process)? Is there a any OEM soles I could purchase and modify, I have seen a few Vibram options but am difficulty locating a purchasing portal.

Any suggestions welcome.


If you have the time, check out Alumilite (http://www.alumilite.com/index.cfm). It allows you to make a mold and cast several parts from it. They also have several different casting resins. It gets a little complicated selecting the right mold/cast resin to fit your specific needs and resources, but you can call them and they can help you out. This stuff is amazing when you need to duplicate several parts for models. Granted, you only need to make one, but if you have no other choice…

Thanks for the reply, this looks promising however I’m based in the UK. Does anyone know of alternatives in the UK, what about this? Xencast Silicone Mould Resin Casting Starter Kit - Easy Composites


Does anyone have any experience of printing directly to rubber?

No one that I have heard of is printing actual rubber. The material is compression molded and does not seem to lend itself to the additive process.

Several elastomer materials are being printed however that would seem to have similar enough characteristics. Check with the 3D print service houses.

Why do you need your model functional? I did a similar uni project with a PU foam sole for an appearance model.

Your model will be so far from actually being functional in real shoe terms that you’re better off just carving the outsole out of a hard material. handmade shoe “prototypes” always look terrible, and unless you’ve designed in some wild function to the outsole that this would serve as a proof of concept for it’s unnecessary. You’re project would execute much better in hard material.

Preliminary outsole concepts are commonly made out of hard non functioning materials before the real tooling.

Hit the nail on the head Drawstreet, the outsole has a pretty wild function :slight_smile: . Thanks for all your help guys, I have managed to get it printed and cast in time.



Any chance we could see some photos? Would love to hear about your casting process as well.