Adidas to Mass-Produce 3D Printed Shoes in Vats of Warm Liquid Goo

A sneaker sole emerges from the bath after being printed
A sneaker sole emerges from the bath after being printed

08 April, 2017

However, unlike standard manufacturing technology, Digital Light Synthesis allows Adidas to create product that addresses the needs of each athlete in regards to movement, cushioning, stability and comfort.

The FutureCraft 4D will be the first 3D-printed shoe Adidas has mass-produced and the first created using the Digital Light Synthesis printing technique developed by Silicon Valley start-up Carbon. Where most 3D printers fuse together layers of plastic, Carbon's method, inspired by the T-1000 robot from Terminator 2, uses light and oxygen to create an object as it's extracted from a pool of gooey, photosensitive resin. Everyone's feet are different, our strides vary, but shoes are basically the same. And they aim to further reduce print time to 20 minutes. Adidas made more than 50 prototypes over the a year ago to test this particular release, and the possibilities for future releases are endless.

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Although it presents Digital Light Synthesis and the Futurecraft 4D as something of a footwear revolution, it is worth remembering that a lot of sportswear companies have already made their own 3D printed shoes.

Adidas unveiled its Futurecraft 3D technology in October 2015.

Adidas AG (ADR) says that it is planning to release some 5,000 Futurecraft 4D shoes in the Fall and Winter season of 2017.

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"Without these limitations posed by traditional production methods, Adidas can now bring the best and most innovative products to consumers faster than ever", Adidas said. If the company has its way, eventually everyone will have 3-D printed shoes that feel good and are highly detailed and customized thanks to 3-D printing technology.

Adidas did not say how much the sneaker would cost.

And, unlike most 3D printing, the process can move at a quick pace. The company's last shoes made using traditional 3D printing, the FutureCraft 3D, retailed at $333 (£270, €315) when they arrived in 2016.

Adidas has been experimenting with 3D printing for a few years now, but for Manz, the Futurecraft 4D marks a personal milestone.

With fashion no embracing the technology, it's interesting to see where else 3D printing is emerging as a thriving disruptor.

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