Adidas recently launched the Futurecraft 4D pair of shoes with the world’s first 3D printed midsole. Adidas teamed up with Carbon3D, a firm based out of California that has pioneered a new Additive Manufacturing technology called Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP). CLIP is an advancement in the field of 3D Printing and Carbon3D promises to produce parts with excellent mechanical properties, resolution and surface finish.
The Adidas Futurecraft 4D shoe is designed by Adidas and powered by Carbon3D. The design takes into account years of athlete data gathered by Adidas and it claims this to be the ‘ultimate running shoe for all’. The shoe design consists of lattice structure that varies throughout the length of the sole. The transitioning is designed according to individuals’ pressure points while running. This helps in improved transition for heel to toe movement, while the forefoot zone allows the runner to move forward better. The open structure also indicates better ‘breathability’.
The lattice geometry is designed to provided optimum cushioning and impact control. The midsole lattice design consists of 20,000 individual struts and it is fabricated in one single go. Each sole customized to an individual’s unique footprint and running pattern. Basically, say, if it’s a number 9 shoe, then the shoe design should be different for someone weighing 60 kgs and for someone weighing 70 kgs. As simple as that. Since no two individuals are the same, why should their shoes be? The unique midsole design is meant to enhance performance.
It remains to be seen how the end consumer envisages this shoe. But if done right, this could spark a new paradigm shift in the footwear industry, and given what we have seen so far, Adidas seems to be in the driving seat to take the industry by storm.