Adidas has revealed that they will be carrying out the mass production of the first ever 3D printed sneakers, Futurecraft 4D. Adidas is collaborating with Carbon, a Silicon Valley-based company to develop a strategy for this process. It is undoubtedly a difficult task, keeping in mind the complex geometry of a shoe sole. The company’s motto says, “stop prototyping, start producing,” which fits perfectly to the current Adidas project.
Adidas will be using Carbon’s enhanced CLIP technology for the mass production of soles for the Futurecraft 4D shoe. The midsoles for the futuristic shoe were made with Carbon’s digital light synthesis technology that uses light and oxygen. A liquid resin with elastic properties is used, which is solidified using light and oxygen. The levels of cushioning, movement, and stability in the midsole could vary in this process. To make the product precise, while ensuring better comfort and support, Adidas gathered 17 years of athlete data. The company’s executive board member for global brands, Eric Liedtke, talked about the technology saying:
“With Digital Light Synthesis, we venture beyond limitations of the past, unlocking a new era in design and manufacturing. One driven by athlete data and agile manufacturing processes. By charting a new course for our industry, we can unleash our creativity – transforming not just what we make, but how we make it.”
3D printing technology has seen significant advancement over the past few years. However, the conventional 3D production methods have certain flaws, rendering it inappropriate for the mass production of certain products. The products produced by this tech have low surface quality, material limitations, slow production, and limited scalability. Carbon’s digital light synthesis technology crosses those barriers and uses molecular science to revolutionize 3D printing.
The company worked on 150 different material compositions and finally chose liquid resin EPU 40. It was the only available material that could reach the performance requirement of the Futurecraft 4D. Adidas design team had chosen a linen-green shade for the launch shoe, so the company tweaked the color of the resin to match the design.
Carbon and Adidas collaboration is not limited to the production of Futurecraft 4D. The two companies will develop new machinery and materials to ensure more innovation in sportswear arena. Carbon’s co-founder and CEO Dr. Joseph Desimone stated in a press release that,
Our partnership with Adidas will serve as an ongoing testament to how the digital revolution has reached the global manufacturing sector, changing the way physical goods are designed, engineered, made, and delivered.
There is no word on the price of this futuristic shoe, but the company says that it will be around the “premium” range. The company will be manufacturing more than 5,000 pairs, but the shoe won’t be available for retail until winters. The number will rise to 100,000 by the end of next year.
Adidas fans await the futuristic high-performance Futurecraft 4D shoe, and the wait won’t be too long. For all we know, the technological revolution may hit the rest of the shoe market as well, and we will soon see the mass production of 3D printed shoes by other companies.