Adidas wants you to walk into one of its stores, run for a moment or two on a treadmill, and then walk out with a running shoe perfectly customized for your feet. This will all be made possible with a new venture from the sneaker manufacturer that involves 3D printing.
Futurecraft 3D is a running shoe midsole, created with a 3D printer, with customized cushioning based on an individual’s foot. The idea is to create a carbon copy of the wearer’s footprint to make an enhanced performance shoe. The 3D technology replicates the contours and pressure points of a person’s feet.
“Futurecraft 3D is a prototype and a statement of intent. We have used a one-of-its-kind combination of process and material in an entirely new way. Our 3D-printed midsole not only allows us to make a great running shoe, but also to use performance data to drive truly bespoke experiences, meeting the needs of any athlete,” said Eric Liedtke, executive board member of Adidas AG, responsible for global brands.
3D printing, also called additive manufacturing, is the printing of 3D objects from a digital file. 3D printing is increasingly used in manufacturing, the medical industry, and by everyday people, to replace broken parts of common household items or for arts and crafts.
Adidas has partnered with Materialise, a company that develops 3D printing software and solutions. Materialise offers 3D printing solutions in matters far weightier than sneakers, however. For example, the company’s medical 3D imaging technology helped with the success of reconstructive surgery for a young woman who suffered a gunshot to her face.
In its collaboration with such a highly-skilled 3D printing partner, Adidas’ goal is to offer a series of Furturecraft products.
“Futurecraft is our sandbox. It is how we challenge ourselves every day to explore the boundaries of our craft, driving material and process innovation,[and] bringing the familiar into the future. Marrying the qualities of handcrafting and prototyping with the limitless potential of new manufacturing technologies. Futurecraft is stripped back – fast, raw, and real – it is our approach to design,” said Paul Gaudio, creative director, Adidas.