Reach out with magic ideas!

[email protected]


A Look into the Future of Footwear

future of footwear fashion 3d render AI neon sweater

A Look into the Future of Footwear

tom rushbrook

Tom Rushbrook


With a career spanning 20 years, as a designer and creative director, Tom has led and worked alongside some of the world’s best creatives, innovators, artists, and athletes within the biggest brands in the industry, including Nike, Puma, and Decathlon. He’s now running sko-lab, a collaborative design and innovation, footwear design studio based in Stockholm, Sweden.


What major trends and movements do you think will be defining the footwear industry next year?

–I believe this next year we are going to see a balance between the evolution of digital as well as a reemphasis on craft and the analogue. The defining trends I see for 2024:


– In 2023 we have seen a super fast progression of AI design tools primarily leveraged by individual creatives and smaller independent brands. In 2024 I think we will see a continued development of AI design tools and a more mainstream adoption by larger more mainstream brands incorporating it into their creative workflow with a structure and process in place.

– Further development of digital design tools and 3D manufacturing is enabling independent creatives the tools and resources to bring their creative vision to life digitally and physically.

– Continued growth of online creative communities will be at the forefront of pushing the limits and development of these new AI design tools. Sharing knowledge and support within the community.

– In a time of immense digital saturation and concepts that push the edges of reality, the consumer will look for reassurance in crafted traditional products with a familiar aesthetic and build to help create a sense of balance


2023 was a year of full focus on AI. Do you think some other technologies and breakthroughs have taken a backseat due to this

– No. I believe social media has flooded our feeds with the hype of AI concepts and images but internally, across many brands sustainability, speed of production and collaborative design tools still remain key strategic drivers, larger brands are all striving to reach climate targets and making the product more efficiently and quickly. I’m looking forward to how AI tools can help unlock sustainable product creation.


adidas adilette 3d printing mimic future of footwear

The Adidas Adilette slippers mimic a 3D printed look without being 3D printed


Adidas recently released a pair of slippers that replicate a 3D-printed look without actually using 3D printing. Looking ahead to 2024, do you foresee a trend where consumers find 3D-printed footwear appealing or will it take more time for viable products to emerge for mass market?


–I think we have already begun to see a variety of 3D printed footwear products in the marketplace – driven by collaborations between 3D printing companies and sports/lifestyle brands –  be it Reebok and HP or Zellerfeld and Moncler.

– For me personally, it’s important for the consumer to not see the homogenised aesthetic as a trend but for brands to promote the important benefits the method of 3D printing provides ie, customisation, zero waste, and local for local production.

– For 3D printed product to be adapted in the mass market we will need to see a faster and cheaper way of large-scale production, the question is also how this aesthetic can be pushed and evolved further – how can 3D printing be hybridised with other circular methods of make, to amplify the benefits of the process and take it to a whole new level of aesthetic and performance to evolve it from the current monolithic format.


What are you eager to learn on a personal level in 2024, whether it’s related to software, acquiring new skills, or something else you are excited about?

– I’m excited to follow the evolution of AI design tools, and equally to continue to find inspiration outside of the digital world to not lose sight of the analogue and the inspiration around us.

 – I’m also excited by personal connections- When I left Nike and moved to Sweden, I was determined my Chapter 2 was to be about creating and building new connections, learning, and having exciting new conversations. In 2024 I like to take the opportunity to meet and collaborate with creatives here in Sweden and in Europe, and further build my network to share thoughts and ideas.


What creators and companies in your space should we keep our eyes on in 2024?

– From a footwear brand perspective it’s been really exciting to watch the relative newcomers of HOKA and ON snatching market share from the likes of Nike and Adidas. They are brands that have been taking risks and are redefining future performance product. It will be interesting to see how they will continue to evolve and grow, whilst still bringing their fresh POV to the performance market.

– In 2024 it will also be really interesting to watch the continued journey of Zellerfeld. The way they have driven an open-source collaborative mindset with both independent creatives and larger more established brands has helped to reenergise and engage brands with new audiences to remain relevant to today’s consumer.

– From a digital tool perspective – I’m looking forward to see how more established platforms such as Midjourney and GPT will continue to develop and provide even more personalised output, whilst new AI platforms like and will develop and be adopted by a more mainstream audience.



AI forecast:

– In 2024, the footwear industry is set to prioritize sustainability by using advanced materials and adopting eco-friendly practices throughout the supply chain. Brands will likely focus on innovative solutions like recycled materials and environmentally conscious manufacturing. Digital innovation will also play a key role, with an increased emphasis on customization experiences for consumers through technology. This includes personalized designs and features, as well as ensuring a perfect fit. Moreover, the industry may see a stronger focus on health and wellness, with footwear designed to enhance comfort, support, and overall foot health. Technologies that boost performance and prevent injuries could become more widespread as consumers continue to prioritize well-being in their purchasing decisions.


Emi the Magic Fabric AI Oracle:
Based on current market trends and consumer preferences, it’s predicted that sustainability, technology integration, and personalized customization will be the three major trends defining the footwear industry in 2024. Sustainability will continue to play a significant role in the industry, with consumers seeking eco-friendly and ethically-produced footwear. Technology integration will continue to advance, with features such as smart soles, adaptive lacing, and augmented reality try-ons becoming more prevalent.


More reading:


CGI Forecast

What’s Next in Games?

Trends and Movements in XR

2024 in Materials

What’s Next in CGI and Animation