Adidas Unveils Futurecraft 4D, The World's First Mass-Produced 3D-Printed Shoe

The new Adidas Futurecraft shoe is displayed in New York City

Adidas has been playing around with 3D printing as a manufacturing method for a while now, but its latest sneaker - the Futurecraft 4D - might be its most ambitious creation yet. For the Futurecraft 4D, Adidas analysed its library of running data to shape a midsole design which was then crafted through Digital Light Synthesis, allowing the company to precisely address the needs of each athlete in regards to movement, cushioning, stability and comfort with one single component.

Using a method called Digital Light Synthesis the startup is able to print objects up to 10 times faster than other 3D printers.

The Adidas Futurecraft 4D, previewed to media Thursday night in NY, will be the first performance sneaker using Carbon's "Digital Light Synthesis" manufacturing technology.

Futurecraft 4D is a shoe made with a manufacturing process that Adidas AG (ADR) is using to create shoes that are custom-tailored for athletes. And they aim to further reduce print time to 20 minutes.

The soles of the shoes will be 3D printed, replacing the injection mould process that is largely the norm in the industry.

A look at the Futurecraft 4D's 3D-printed midsoles.

Although it presents Digital Light Synthesis and the Futurecraft 4D as something of a footwear revolution, it is worth remembering that a lot of sportswear companies have already made their own 3D printed shoes.

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Adidas said it analyzed a library of running data to come up with the flawless design for the sole.

You can check out the promo video from Carbon below.

To begin with, 5,000 pairs of the Futurecraft 4D will become available in fall/winter 2017 (northern hemisphere), with more than 100,000 pairs coming by the end of the following year.

The cost of the shoes have not yet been released, but the company said they will sell at a "premium price" with plans to eventually lower the cost. With the new technology, adidas operates on a completely different manufacturing scale and sport performance quality, departing from 3D printing, and bringing additive manufacturing to the sport industry into a new dimension.

Last year's 3D-printed Adidas sneaker arrived in December in very limited numbers. This characteristic is not seen in most 3D printing processes.

What makes all this possible is the 3D-printing process created by Adidas' partner in the venture, Carbon, whose investors include BMW, GE, and Nikon.

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