It seems as though the footwear industry has taken much of the 3D printing spotlight this week as Autodesk launches its Footwear group and Nike anticipates we could be looking at 3D printing our trainers at home in the near future. Now adidas has unveiled its take on digital footwear with the introduction of Futurecraft 3D, a customisable 3D printed running shoe midsole which aims to allow athletes to perform at their individual best.
The 3D concept is part of the ‘Futurecraft series’, a forward-looking initiative that will leverage open source collaboration and design to drive innovation across all elements of production and take the running shoe standard to the next level.
The project is being made possible through an open source partnership with Belgian 3D printing pioneers, Materialise. This isn't the first time Materialise has made its mark on the 3D printed footwear market - last year the company played a pivotal role in a project with RS Print to create a custom insole for world-record holder Paula Radcliffe to support her in the London Marathon. Along with the company’s expertise, adidas has created a unique combination of material and process to offer individualised support and cushioning for every foot.
“Futurecraft 3D is a prototype and a statement of intent,” Eric Liedtke, Executive Board Member of adidas AG, responsible for Global Brands, explained. “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.”
adidas say the plan is to eventually enable customers to come into one of their stores, spend a few moments on a treadmill to collect data for the midsole and then instantly get a 3D-printed running shoe. This product will be a flexible, fully breathable copy of the athlete’s own footprint, matching exact contours and pressure points and will enable the best possible running experience.
Paul Gaudio, Creative Director, adidas, commented: “Futurecraft is our sandbox. It is how we challenge ourselves every day to explore the boundaries of our craft. Driving material and process innovation, 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.”