Sportswear giant Adidas is breaking new ground with its first 3D-printed shoes’ commercial launch.
3D-printing, also known as additive manufacturing, involves computer-layered materials being used to create three-dimensional objects. It’s not a new technique but one that’s really gained traction in recent years. Thus, we’ve had 3D-printed jet engines, a 3D-printed handgun, 3D-printed drugs and a whole host of other additive-manufactured creations.
Adidas has been working within 3D printing for some months. Now, its state-of-the-art 3D Runner trainers are about to hit the shelves and, potentially, that’s only the start of a 3D-printed footwear revolution.
Adidas 3D Runner
Adidas debuted its ultra-hi-tech 3D Runner technology four months ago, when pairs were given to several of the company’s top-level athletes, like Team GB’s Jessica Ennis-Hill. Some months prior to that, the firm had unwrapped its ‘Future 3D’ concept. Future 3D hasn’t yet come to fruition but it’s based on a scenario where customers enter a store, have their running style assessed on a treadmill and walk out with a fully-customized pair of shoes. That’s the kind of personalized shopping experience which the 3D Runner now, quite literally, brings one step closer.
“This is just the beginning”, says Adidas Future team's Mikal Peveto. “Creating customized shoes based on an individual’s footprint – including their running style, foot shape, performance needs and personal preferences – is a north star for the industry and Adidas is leading with cutting edge innovations.”
While the 3D Runner isn’t individually foot-customized, it incorporates 3D-printed components throughout. The result, says, Adidas, is increased performance. The shoe’s top surface features Adidas’ ‘Primeknit’ mixture while, elsewhere, 3D-printed web constructions in a range of densities are used, along with a 3D-printed heel. There are no stitches or glued parts involved in this heel counter’s integration whatsoever. That, according to Adidas, produces ‘greater elasticity, compliancy and support.’
The 3D Runner isn’t available everywhere but, instead, is being introduced at selected venues in New York, Tokyo and London on a limited basis, starting on 15 December. Further 3D Runner printed shoes information is provided on Adidas’ website.
Main image credit @mervinkaye - Final image credit @femsta - All images courtesy Adidas