New Balance, a well-renowned company that specializes in sporting goods and active wear, has just recently unveiled the first ever pair of running shoes made using a 3D printer. The shoes were introduced in a press release and just might pull the company ahead of it competitors such as Adidas and Nike. Elastometric powder was the material used to form the midsole of the shoes and the process done in order to build it is called
selective laser sintering. In this process, the cross-sections of the soles are formed per level with the use of a laser. This is a hightly detailed pinpoint proess. The specific printer used to create what the sports industry may consider as the “latest athletic breakthrough” is a 3D Systems Printer.
And from this breakthrough, New Balance just might be able to sell more and more 3D printed shoes. The shoes can be customized since the printer is capable of recognizing the contours and shape of one’s own feet. According to Sean Murphy, the Senior Manager of Innovation and Engineering of New Balance, this innovation is “unprecedented technical collaboration in footwear.” Murphy also adds, “To deliver this
level of performance with a 3D printed component, we paired experts in running and biomechanics with leaders in plastics engineering, material development and generative design. These are the types of collaborations that will drive footwear design and manufacturing in the future.”
The design of the 3D printed shoe was heavily derived from their Fresh Foam Zante, one of the earlier running shoes that they have released. The upper portion of the shoe is still fashioned out of cloth like its predecessors. The very highlight of the shoe lies in the 3D printed midsole. The entire foam is created through injection molding, a process that is very much grueling and time-consuming. In order to complete this, New Balance has tied up with 3D Systems. Without the technology and line up of machines that 3D Systems had to offer, this shoe would not have been made.
Pairs of New Balance’s 3D printed running shoes will be available in April 2016 at the upcoming Boston Marathon.
Based on the story New Balance's 3D printed running shoes to arrive by April 2016 by Kira