The new age of shoe manufacturing is largely dependent with 3D printing. Now, Adidas leads in the industry in that aspect as the company reveals its first 3D-printed shoe which will be up for mass production.
Adidas reported that 100,000 pairs of Futurecraft 4D will be made by the end of 2018. Through a process called the Continuous Liquid Interface, the mid-sole of the shoe is created out of a vat of liquid polymer resin and shaped by using ultraviolet light.
But the leading shoe manufacturer is still cautious about turning into 100% 3D printing this year. It said that only 5,000 pairs of Futurecraft shoes will go on sale later this year, with 95,000 more by the end of next year.
Gerd Manz from Adidas acknowledges that this is a milestone not only for the company but for the entire shoe industry. “We’ve cracked some of the boundaries,” he said through Reuters.
A great selling point of 3D-printing the shoes, or 3D-printing in general, is that it allows the creation of smaller batch of exclusive design. For example, Adidas could create an entire set of shoes intended only for an event or location, or even tailor a singular piece of footwear for a basketball superstar.
“Individualization will come, but you’ve got to learn to walk before you run,” said Manz, referring to its capacity to bring down the costs of production of before the Futurecraft 4D becomes affordable to the public.
Carbon, a company from Silicon Valley, is the genius behind the Continuous Liquid Interface method. It said that the method is faster and more adaptable than traditional additive printing, and can make mass-production 3D printing a reality. It added that the final materials are more robust and flexible than traditional injection molded plastics.
There is no word yet from Adidas as to how much a pair of Futurecraft 4D costs, but it gave out a clue that the price range will be “premium”.
Source: The Verge