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0311ctt 3d shoe front lo res

Published on March 11th, 2016 | By: April Gocha, PhD

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Innovation on the ground—3-D printed shoes offer custom fit, perfect cushion

Published on March 11th, 2016 | By: April Gocha, PhD

[Image above] Credit: adidas

 

 

Innovation infiltrates everything. That’s because innovation is the secret to success within any business.

 

So it’s no surprise that innovation is a major theme at next month’s 5th Ceramic Leadership Summit. This business-focused meeting will converge in Cleveland, Ohio, on the days leading up to Ceramics Expo 2016—another place where innovation will be on prominent display.

 

[If you haven’t yet registered for either event, stop procrastinating today! You still have time to save on registration for CLS; and CEX is free to attend—so what are you waiting for?]

 

But in addition to business, innovation also infiltrates our everyday.

 

Even shoes are getting increasingly innovative. Sportswear manufacturer adidas recently unveiled its concept for the most personalized pair of shoes yet—custom-fitted, 3-D printed running shoe midsoles.

 

These aren’t just any 3-D printed shoes—these are shoes that are precisely custom fitted, completely personalized to the shape of your foot and the pressure points unique to your running gait.

 

The shoes are born from adidas’s Futurecraft series, an initiative that “places open source collaboration and craftsmanship at the heart of design to drive innovation across all elements of production,” according to an adidas press release.

 

According to the company, the idea is that you could walk into a retail store, do a quick run on treadmill, and then get a pair of shoes perfectly fitted to your foot’s precise needs.

 

“Creating a flexible, fully breathable carbon copy of the athlete’s own footprint, matching exact contours and pressure points, it will set the athlete up for the best running experience,” the release promises. “Linked with existing data sourcing and footscan technologies, it opens unique opportunities for immediate in-store fittings.”

 

Which would bring footwear quite a long way from when Converse All-Stars were the high-top choice for athletic feet everywhere.

 

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0311ctt 3d shoe bottom lo res

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0311ctt 3d shoes lo res

 

Adidas partnered with Materialise, a company that specializes in 3-D printing, to design and fabricate the one-size-fits-one shoe.

 

According to a Materialise press release, the company helped develop the midsole’s lightweight structure, which melds a balance of flexibility and strength required by a running shoe. “The production breakthrough will take the running shoe standard to the next level, offering unprecedented individualized support and cushioning for every foot, to enable athletes to perform at their best.”

 

To create the shoe, the team laser-sintered the airy midsoles in thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). Watch the video below to see the soles come to life from a bed of TPU powder.

 

Credit: adidas; YouTube


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