sleminars 2017 future footwear manufacturing

sleminars 2017 future footwear manufacturing

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 which could even be applied to make shoes in store.

Demonstrations of machines and technologies will let you experience how you will be able to implement this new opportunity in your company or workflow.

SLEM aims to surpass the big success of the 2016 SLEMinars; a large variety of leading brands have already bought their tickets, such as New Balance, Wolverine, VF Corp, Ecco, Timberland, Alexander Wang, Birkenstock and many more.


day 1, April 20th 2017

smart footwear production

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

More speakers will be added soon


day 2, April 21st 2017

disruptive footwear production

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

More speakers will be added soon


"The 2016 SLEMinars in Waalwijk were an amazing experience for me coming from New Zealand. I was so impressed with all of the speakers and their presentations. Making connections in the Footwear Industry and meeting the team at SLEM over the 2 day event made the event invaluable to me professionally.”

Nicola Williamson, Senior Footwear Designer and Product Developer at Bobux


April 20: smart footwear production

08:45 - 09:30 welcome and registration
introduction by Nicoline van Enter

SLEM's Creative Director and world-renowned footwear forecaster and consultant. In this lecture she will give a broad perspective on how automation will influence society in general and what effects this will have on mass production of footwear around the world.
10:00 - 10:25
Matt Powell
 - the future of the sneaker industry

Matt is Vice President of industry analysis for The NPD Group, the sports industry’s primary source for research and analysis. Matt is widely regarded in the sneaker industry as a Sporting Goods and Athletic shoe expert with more than 40 years experience. He frequently gives presentations to senior executives of Athletic retailers and brands and is often quoted as industry expert in major business publications. Powell writes the Sneakernomics blog for Forbes.

10:30 - 10:55
Christian Decker - the future of manufacturing is in the shops

GM of Desma Footwear Automation, Desma is one of the worlds largest footwear machinery companies. Christian Decker envisions a future where machines will play an integral part in the consumer experience. 

11:00 - 11:25 COFFEE BREAK

11:30 - 11:55
Jempi Wilssens
- in-store digital customization systems
Jempi is the founder and Chief Visionary Officer of RsScan. An accomplished athlete himself, he devoted his life to creating scanning systems to prevent injuries. Jempi will lecture on how to integrate custom performance footwear solutions with manufacturing and retail.

11:55 - 12:05 INTERMEZZO: Desma, RSScan and Hewlett Packard have a special announcement to make!

12:05 - 12:30
Sergio Dulio
- merging crafts and robotics for footwear production

Head of ATOMLab, the Research and Innovation unit of the ATOM group, one of the largest footwear machinery producers in the world. He is working in close contact with universities and research institutions in Italy and abroad to improve footwear production methods.

12:35 - 13:00
Eva Klabalová - innovating by using everything a factory is neglecting

Head designer and founder of Cave. She is prolific footwear designer with a keen eye for construction and innovation. As a SLEM alumnus she is a expert in marrying tradition and technology to create meaningful products. Her brand CAVE demonstrates this way of thinking by cleverly using everything a factory is neglecting.

13:00 - 13:55 LUNCH BREAK

13:55 - 14:05
Angelos Stavrakis: Safesize The Global Leader in Virtual Shoe Fitting Technology

He is the CEO and Co-founder of SafeSize. A former Management Consultant at The Boston Consulting Group and senior leader at Intersport, Angelos is managing the leading virtual shoe fitting and recommendation company in the world. SafeSize technologies are currently used by more than 1000 stores 2Mio consumers/year to recommend the perfect fitting shoe.

14:05 - 14:35
Christin Grube - custom made footwear with existing technologies

She is the Head of Business Development at Schuhleister. Before she was a consultant for Ernst & Young, where she specialized in market research for the retail sector. She has several years of experience in Enterprise and Market Development of New Markets from her own entrepreneurial endeavors. She has a Masters from the Grenoble Graduate School of Business in Innovation Management. 
14:40 - 15:05
Andy Polk - manufacturing innovation from design to assembly line

He is Senior Vice President at the (FDRA).  FDRA is the American footwear industry’s business and trade association representing over 150 footwear companies from athletic to fashion including NIKE, Under Armour, HH, Brown, Caleres and Wolverine Worldwide. As SVP, Polk oversees the association’s communications and events, industry studies, membership relations and heads its footwear innovation working group.  He is also co-host of the footwear industry’s weekly podcast Shoe-In Show. 

15:10 - 15:35 COFFEE BREAK

15:35 - 16:00
Peter Santora - robotic stitching without human intervention

Vice President of Softwear Automation, a company that has developed robots that sew without any direct human labor. He was an Entrepreneur in Residence and research faculty member at the Advanced Technology Development Center at Georgia Tech, a Forbes top 10 technology incubator where he mentored startup CEO's including Softwear Automation. His initial focus has been on engineering a touchless process for footwear uppers and T-Shirt manufacturing. 
16:00 - 16:35
Paul Frowijn - how to adjust your current production process to automation

He has been consulting footwear companies for over 5 years now on behalf of Impactiva. Over these years he has witnessed the changes that are taking place in footwear and apparel manufacturing, and how the industry is gradually adopting modern manufacturing techniques. Before Impactiva he was involved in Management Education (it is not just about the machines) and the launch of Shimano Cycling Footwear in Europe.

17:00 - 18:00 end of the conference and drinks

April 21: disruptive footwear production

08:45 - 09:30 welcome and registration
09:30 - 09:55 introduction by Nicoline van Enter

SLEM's Creative Director and world-renowned footwear forecaster and consultant. In her second presentation she will give an impression of an alternative future scenario, in which entirely new ways of manufacturing will lead to a better balance between consumer needs and limited resources.
10:00 - 10:25
Francis Bitonti
- generating new materials and constructions through coding

He is the founder of Studio Bitonti, a studio dedicated to digital design and material innovation. His footwear clients include United Nude and Feetz. Bitonti’s work has been published in the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and the Museum of Arts and Design.   

10:30 - 10:55
Lucy Beard - The business of creating and selling 3D printed shoes

CEO & Founder of Feetz, a company that produces mass customized 3d printed shoes. Feetz is one of the first companies to offer 3d printed custom fitted shoe online. They have recently started opening their first brick and mortar stores where consumer can order their custom shoes and experience the 3D printing process.

11:00 - 11:25 COFFEE BREAK
11:30 - 11:55 
Terna Jibo - new concepts for in-store production

He is Head of Strategic Insights at Portland Design and leads its standalone SIU (Strategic Insights Unit), offering tailored consumer insights and trends research for the retail, travel and leisure industries. Portland's SIU team are responsible for creating original, imaginative and usable research that solves problems, accelerates great ideas and drives innovative design solutions
12:00 - 12:25
Troy Nachtigall - Generative design in footwear

Phd researcher Eindhoven University. He is a Fashion Designer dedicated to the application of new technology in both apparel and footwear. He will present his current research project "Solemaker"
12:30 - 12:55
Siert Wijnia

Siert Wijnia studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Twente and started working as an instrumentation and control systems engineer at Fluor, a global engineering company. In 2008 he started as lab manager at Protospace, the Fablab of Utrecht, where people can make their ideas into products. Within Protospace he started organising workshops in building your own 3D printer, which resulted in Ultimaker, a leading company for desktop 3D printers.

13:00 - 13:55 LUNCH BREAK

13:55 - 14:20
Arno Gramsma - exciting new system of serial 3D printing

He is Managing Director of AddFab 3D Printing Factory and director of the business unit KMWE 3DP. He used to work for 4 years as business development manager for KMWE Projects and Key Account Manager Semiconductors at KMWE with key account ASML. Before his career at KMWE he worked ten years at Philips Semiconductors/NXP Semiconductors and inhabited different roles in the fields of Production and Business Processes. His lecture will be about a new system of serial 3D printing.

14:25 - 14:50
Thijs Verhaar - The future of knitted footwear

Thijs is Founder – Knitwear Programmer &CKO (Chief Knitting Officer) of Knitwear Lab, a design lab specialized in design, consulting and production of industrial knitwear. The past 2 years they focused on knitted uppers for shoes. They develop new knits and test yarns in The Netherlands. With their partner in Istanbul they have a specialized set-up for flexible and larger scale production of knitted shoes.
14:55 - 15:20
Xiaoxi Shi – 3D knitted personalized footwear

Co-founder JS Shoes/2LA design Xiaoxi Shi has an extensive background in industrial design as a former Senior Industrial Designer at Microsoft and Nokia. JS shoe was formed as a lifestyle brand and product development company specializing in 3D knitting technology / Customization. The company’s first product line will include the J&S 3D knitted shoes which feature a featherweight, formfitting and seamless design in both men and women’s styles.

15:20 - 15:35
INTERMEZZO: Bob Snijders will present SLEM's new incubate program for footwear and leather related start-ups

15:35 - 16:00 COFFEE BREAK
16:00 - 16:25
Ingrid Weijer - In-Store Footwear Finishing

Ingrid is Sustainability Manager at Stahl and has a broad experience in sustainability in a variety of positions and sustainability working groups. From 2003 – 2016, she was CSR Officer and Manager Corporate Responsibility & Innovation for Macintosh Retail Group. She will talk about innovative options for in-store finishing using Easy Crust®.

16:30 - 17:00

Speakers and participants - who are all decision-makers in innovation for leading footwear brands - will respond to several thought provoking statements created by SLEM students and professors
17:00 - 19:00 end of the conference and drinks sponsored by shoe business club Sell de Langstraat

be the first to hear about our upcoming SLEMinars


" The SLEMinars always well inform me on latest developments in cross-over areas, which are directly adaptable for the footwear market."

Harm Brinkhof, senior product manager at Birkenstock GmbH & Co. KG


public transport
To reach Waalwijk you can fly to Schiphol Airport (Amsterdam) and a train to Den Bosch (‘s Hertogenbosch). From there you take bus 300, 301 or 136 to bus stop Waalwijk Vredesplein; from there it is a 5 minute walk to SLEM. Total travel time is about 90 minutes.

If you come from another EU country, it might be cheaper to fly to Eindhoven Airport. From there you take bus 401 to Eindhoven Central Station. You then take a direct train to Tilburg or to Den Bosch (‘s Hertogenbosch). From either station you can take bus 300, 301 or 136 to bus stop Waalwijk Vredesplein; from there it is a 5 minute walk to SLEM. Total travel time is about 90 minutes.

For more travel information, please check

travel by car
If you travel by car, you can park your car at the Taxandria parking. It takes around 9 minutes to walk from Taxandria parking to SLEM.


There are special rates for the conference visitors at different hotels.

Hotel Waalwijk ask for the special rates for SLEM visitors.

NH Waalwijk you can send an email to Monique Ibes:
mentioning the following details:
SLEM Eventlink
NH Waalwijk



Media Accreditation  

The conference organizers welcome enquiries from electronic media and the press. Accredited journalists can attend this conference and/or arrange interviews with the speakers.

Press accreditation should be arranged in advance of the conference. It is granted to active editorial staff and freelancers, subject to proof of an editorial job function, a freelance commission or a valid press card.

To register for a complimentary media pass, contact Lea van Dongen.
She can be reached at or during European office hours on +31416757630.


SLEMinars 2016

An impression of the 2016 edition onferences can be found here.

SLEMinars 2014

An impression of the 2014 edition conferences can be found here.

become a partner

SLEM has a dedicated following from footwear professionals who love our conference. Partnership gives you the opportunity to make the event even better, adding value for our delegates and gaining the opportunity to tell them how your products and services can help them. 

Sponsorship gives you the opportunity to make the event even better, adding value for our delegates and gaining the opportunity to tell them how your products or services can help them. We also have the option for annual, global and media sponsorships. 

For more info on sponsoring our upcoming conferences, mail

Are you interested in showing your product or service to a wide, though targeted group of interested professionals? Join the exhibition with your own stand and start inspiring!

Click on the brochure below to see all options.




media partners