Leuven, Belgium — Athletic gear giant Adidas wants to change the way you pick out your next pair of running shoes.
Rather than guessing what style fits your foot, the Futurecraft 3D concept would have customers briefly run on a treadmill fitted with existing data sourcing and footscan technologies.
Information from that test would be fed into an in-house 3-D printer that would create a custom midsole made on the spot from modified thermoplastic polyurethane.
“Futurecraft 3D is a prototype and a statement of intent,” said Eric Liedke, executive board member at Adidas during the Oct. 7 introduction. “We have used a one-of-its-kind combination of process and material in an entirely new way. Our 3-D-printed midsole not only allows us to make a great running shoe, but also to use performance data to drive truly bespoke experiences.”
To create the shoe's structure, 3-matic STL software was used and a laser sintered process with powdered TPU was used to create it. Leuven-based prototyping specialist Materialise NV and Adidas worked together on the concept.
Materialise claims the partnership has brought about “the first durable fully-flexible 3-D printing material in a consumer product.”
In a blog post on the project, Daniel Cocking, Adidas' footwear development manager, said the potential for 3-D printing is so strong, the team went was able to move quickly.