Will footwear come back to Europe and the USA through high-tech factories only operated by robots? Will in-store manufacturing of tailor-made shoes be the solution for brick and mortar retail? Will we be able to have computers and scanners simply generate the shoes we need so we can 3D print them at home?

These questions and many more will be discussed at SLEM’s upcoming Future of Footwear Manufacturing SLEMinars on April 20-21, 2017.

The first conference day will be about “smart manufacturing”, in other words: how can we take existing production methods to the next level, making them more local, functional and able to provide custom-made footwear. The second day will focus on “disruptive manufacturing”, discussing entirely new methods of footwear manufacturing, from print farms to generative design systems and biotechnology solutions.

SLEM aim’s to surpass the big success of the 2016 SLEMinars when 120 companies flew in from all around the world to attend. SLEM’s creative director Nicoline van Enter: “We will have the most exciting line-up of speakers ever seen at a footwear conference, from CEOs of leading footwear machinery companies, to start-ups with highly promising disruptive systems and representatives of other industries that offer manufacturing solutions that are very applicable to footwear. Our SLEMinars create lots of interaction between the speakers and the audience, making them a real platform for meaningful footwear innovation”.

Some of the speakers include:

Matt Powell, renowned sports industry business analyst involved in innovation projects for large companies such as Adidas and Reebok

Francis Bitonti who’s New York based studio is pushing additive manufacturing to its material limits

Terna Jibo of Portland Design, a strategic design agency that is responsible for the most ground breaking retail concepts in the world, combining analogue and digital technologies into new consumer experiences

Xiaoxi Shi, former design lead for Nokia and Microsoft and current owner of 2-LA Design, presenting the first fully 3D knitted footwear by JS Shoes


About SLEM

SLEM is an international footwear innovation institute that includes a consulting department, a training institute that offers both fulltime and part time programs on a professional level, an incubator and a footwear museum. SLEM is known for its future forward and meaningful contributions to the footwear industry.


Dates: 20 & 21 April, 2017
Location: Waalwijk, The Netherlands


Day one will focus on Smart Manufacturing: how to adapt existing manufacturing systems for mass customization.
Speakers day 1:
Matt Powell – NPD Group
Christian Decker – Desma
Andy Polk – FDRA
Sergio Dulio – AtomLAB
Eva Kablalova – Cave
Peter Santora – SoftWear
Christin Grube – Schuhleister


The second day will focus on Disruptive Manufacturing: how to create entirely new kinds of manufacturing and how to make these profitable.
Speakers day 2:
Terna Jibo – Portland Design
Siert Wijnia – Ultimaker
XiaoXi Shi – JS Shoes
Troy Nachtigall – Solemaker
Francis Bitonti – Studio Bitonti
Lucy Beard – Feetz

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