Adidas has created a new 3D-printed shoe, and it's taking it to the mass market

 
Courtney Goldsmith
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Adidas' new shoes are said to be made of "light and oxygen" (Source: Adidas)

Adidas has partnered with a Silicon Valley startup to launch new trainers with a 3D-printed sole, and it plans to bring the product to the mass market next year.

The German sportswear giant teamed up with startup Carbon to create a shoe dubbed Futurecraft 4D, which Adidas says is the world's first shoe featuring soles made of "light and oxygen" using Carbon's unique technology.

Traditional 3D printers are slow and expensive, all the while making a lower quality product compared with typical injection moulds.

However, Carobn's technology allows Adidas to overcome those obstacles.

Carbon prints with light-sensitive polymer resin that is then baked for strength, cutting the time it takes to print a sole from an hour and a half to as low as 20 minutes per sole.

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Adidas plans to sell 5,000 pairs of its new trainers at an unspecified premium price and as many as 100,000 pairs by the end of 2018.

The company said its new design will address each customer's specific needs in regards to movement, cushioning, stability and comfort.

Eric Liedtke Adidas executive board member for global brands said the group is "unlocking a new era in design and manufacturing" driven by athlete data and agile manufacturing processes, "transforming not just what we make, but how we make it".

Joseph DeSimone, Carbon co-founder and chief executive, said: "Despite the influence of technology to improve almost every other aspect of our lives, for eons the manufacturing process has followed the same four steps that make up the product development cycle – design, prototype, tool, produce.

"Carbon has changed that; we’ve broken the cycle and are making it possible to go directly from design to production. We’re enabling engineers and designers to create previously impossible designs, and businesses to evolve their offerings, and Futurecraft 4D is evidence of that."

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