Adidas Steps Into the Future with 3D-Printed Footwear

Adidas Steps Into the Future with 3D-Printed Footwear

Adidas is introducing the new age of sneakers.

Adidas is introducing the new age of sneakers.

Text: Adair Smith

Adidas has been testing 3D-printing technology in one-off collaborations, and has finally announced its first, mass-produced sneaker: the Futurecraft 4D. Currently, there are only 300 pairs (good luck getting them), but the brand is committed to making 5,000 by the end of the year, and 100,000 more next year.

In 2015, the brand released a prototype of a 3D-printed sneaker in collaboration with Parley for the Oceans, making the mid-sole out of recycled polyester and fishing nets. This time around, the brand partnered with Silicon Valley start-up Carbon, a company specializing in 3D-printing. The mint green mid-sole of the shoe is created by a process called Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP), where the design is pulled out of a vat of liquid polymer resin and molded into the desired shape using ultraviolet light.

With funding from Google and General Electric, Carbon can equip adidas with faster production (9x faster than production right now) and lower costs, making 3D printing in bulk a real possibility. "This is a milestone not only for us as a company but also for the industry. We've cracked some of the boundaries,” said adidas’s head of technology innovation, Gerd Manz.

The future applications of this technology, as it becomes faster and cheaper, is customizable, unique-to-foot shoes for the masses.

See photos and video for the adidas Futurecraft 4D sneakers below.

Credits: Photos Courtesy of adidas

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