Let's 3D print your sneakers!
Game changing 3D printing development in the footwear industry
We are not so far from the day when we will wear personalized sneakers custom-made especially for our feet and our preferences in color, shape, and decoration. Leading companies such as Adidas, Nike, and New Balance are on the way to revolutionize their approach to the footwear production.
Adidas was the scoop of the day at the Olympics in Rio by giving a pair of 3D printed running shoes to all medal-winning Adidas athletes.
The German sportswear giant is capturing headlines with their eco-oriented project of 3D printing sneakers from "ocean plastic". They use plastic salvaged from around the Maldives and then recycled to get filament used for 3D printing.
Real Madrid and Bayern Munich players promoted an Adidas limited edition soccer shoe model made from recycled ocean materials.
Now Adidas is going a step further: the company has built two Speedfactories - a revolutionary production system that uses 3D printing to produce high-quality sporting shoes. The goal: to achieve "fast, transparent and individualized production."
Nike has just started a partnership with Prodways Group to produce printed outsoles, midsoles, and insoles. They are developing a "revolutionary elastomeric material" for laser sintering.
New Balance will work with Formlabs to create 3D printed footwear materials.
Reebok uses 3D printing to bring sneaker production back to the US: "We will create the shoe outsole without molds by drawing in layers to create the first ever energy-return outsole, which perform better than the standard rubber outsole.”
The slogan is: personalization! Not only your shoe size, but also the specific shape of your foot and your own idea about the design, look, and feel of the shoe. The goal is achieving comfort and satisfaction through personalization.
3D printed sneakers are on the way of commercialization, making their way to your local stores: New Balance launched 44 pairs of its $400 3D printed Zante Generate running shoes for the Boston Marathon last year. Adidas $333 3D Runner limited edition was available for Christmas in New York, London and Tokyo.
China also captures the trend. Chinese sportswear company Peak Sport has just launched its commercial $188 3D printed sneakers – Future - and says it’s ready to provide the market with 3D printed sneakers this autumn.
Maybe soon we will see people sporting 3D printed Nike shoes on Vitoshka Boulevard?