How One Designer 3-D Printed a Shoe For Grimes and Elon Musk’s Baby

Photo: Courtesy of Rombaut

While creating X Æ A-12’s shoes, Rombaut wanted to go zero-waste, a longtime philosophy of his label. “We wanted to do something that is a closed-looped system that doesn’t pollute. We thought about 3-D printing,” the designer explains. Rombaut teamed up with the 3-D printing company Zellerfeld, a Brooklyn-based tech start-up that not only prints components to shoes but whole shoes out in one fell print. Rombaut and Zellerfeld’s sustainable mindsets merge: Both companies are focused on producing zero-waste footwear, and Zellerfeld’s technology perfects the process, utilizing 100% recyclable polymer and no stitching or glue.

“10 years ago I said, ‘In the future people will print their own shoes,’ and it’s super exciting to live in the future right now!” says Rombaut—X Æ A-12’s shoes were a realization of this prediction and a profound moment for the designer who envisions a more eco-future.

As for the look, Rombaut was inspired by both his own designs, specifically his fall 2021 Drone sandal with an alien-type sole and a nylon upper that is reminiscent of a puffer coat. Rombaut also took Musk’s creation, the dystopian, chunktastic Tron-ed out Tesla Cybertruck as inspiration for the shoe’s upper. “I love the whole ethos behind Tesla, and this design speaks to me the most so far. I love the angular and triangular shapes,” says Rombaut, who adds. “We couldn’t go as radical because the shape inside needs to hug the foot and be comfy.” And we are sure little X’s feet will be just fine and, of course, very stylish in these kicks.

Photo: Courtesy of Rombaut