Jul 02, 2023
by Sofia de la Cruz
BOTTER and Reebok Deliver On a 3D-Printed Footwear Fantasy
by Sofia de la Cruz
Jul 02, 2023

When it’s BOTTER‘s turn to steal the show during Paris Fashion Week, you know you’re in for something good. The term “Aquatic wear” may sound somewhat esoteric, but Lisi Herrebrugh and Rushemy Botter’s universe of “Caribbean Couture” is exactly what we look forward to every season. In the six years since the brand’s inception, BOTTER has become one of the most highly anticipated labels due to their inventive construction and sustainability ethos.

With each season, the gender-neutral brand fearlessly pushes boundaries, redefining identity, craftsmanship and creative thinking. At its core, BOTTER remains dedicated to bringing nature to the forefront of the runway. In their Spring/Summer 2023 collection, the label raised awareness about the rising temperatures and the plastic crisis in our oceans by adorning models’ arms with condoms filled with dyed water—yes, safe sex meets high fashion.

They also incorporated kelp into their fabrics, harnessing its remarkable CO2 absorption properties. Wearing these kelp-made fabrics offers health benefits, reducing environmental harm to the skin and slowing down the aging process.

For their Fall/Winter 2023 show, the brand captured the essence of “Caribbean Couture” through shell-like silhouettes and an ocean-inspired color palette. The standout piece was the “Venus Comb Murex Shell” sneaker, a marvel crafted through 3D printing, drawing inspiration from seashells and the comb of the Greek goddess Venus.

Collaborating with Reebok, BOTTER seamlessly merged elements of vintage Reebok football sneakers with the mystique of the deep sea. Leveraging HP’s revolutionary Multi Jet Fusion Technology, they transcended traditional manufacturing practices, minimizing waste production. The layered fronds featured TPU, a material as versatile as it sounds.

Fast forward to their latest Spring/Summer 2024 presentation at Men’s Paris Fashion Week and BOTTER and Reebok were back at it again, offering conceptual design mixed with functionality. Among the highlights was the return of the 3D-printed Murex sneaker, featuring an otherworldly free-flowing pool slide silhouette in various gradient shades of black. Additionally, strategic slits on the back of other sneakers created optical illusions, deceiving the eye with trompe l’œil silhouettes.

And then there was the BOTTER x Reebok “Energia Bo Két,” a showstopper sneaker that oozes sophistication. Inspired by vintage Reebok soccer cleats and climbing shoes, the silhouette boasts a deconstructed upper, a rubber wrap guard, intricate molding patterns, an integrated vector design, a folding tongue, an extended asymmetrical eyelet and a two-part outsole that’s a mashup of their previous 3D-printed Murex shoe and Reebok soccer cleats.

These sneakers will be available in two distinct materials, each offering two color variations. The “Botter White” and “Botter Black” iterations utilize Japanese synthetic suede, meticulously molded and printed with utmost precision to ensure alignment with their printed counterparts. Every molding detail pays homage to patterns found in various archival Reebok soccer cleats, such as the iconic “Valde” and the revered “Instante.” Additional styles include “Botter Yellow” with blue details and “Botter Blue/Pink.”

Evan Belforti, Footwear Designer for Reebok Special Projects and Collaborations, shared with us the details of the creative process behind this season’s footwear: “We always begin by diving into the Reebok archive, searching for items that resonate with the stories of our collaborators. In this particular case, the BOTTER team expressed great enthusiasm for our archival soccer silhouettes, as well as some of our past outdoor and rock climbing shoes. These designs closely aligned with their childhood experiences and the narratives they aimed to convey in this collection. Moreover, we found such a seamless connection between these stories aesthetically.”

He continued: “To bring their vision to life, my developer and I traveled to Antwerp to collaborate with Rushemy and Lisi. Together, we crafted a full prototype of the shoe using nothing but tape and clay. Given the collaborator’s emphasis on silhouette and shape, we needed to work with a 3D medium. Following the creation of the prototype, our next step involved refining the sole’s shaping and adding intricate details to the upper. Once the prototype was sent to the factory, I received a pattern file, which allowed me to incorporate all the referential aspects from soccer cleats, brand placement, and molding details.”

While more details about their sustainability ethos are forthcoming, it’s worth exploring the styles showcased in the gallery above. And in case you missed it, Stüssy, Converse and Our Legacy link for a Chuck Hi 70 hemp overhaul.

Images: Courtesy of Evan Belforti/Reebok