Adidas unveils its gorgeous 3D-printed sneakers, the Futurecraft 4D

Adidas unveils its gorgeous 3D-printed sneakers, the Futurecraft 4D

Troy Powers
April 8, 2017

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.

3D-printed shoes have been relegated to special one-offs or prototypes until now, but Adidas is making a huge step forward with a new shoe it's calling the "Futurecraft 4D".

Carbon claims that its method known as "Digital Light Synthesis" will allow Adidas to get the scale for the shoe.

As for Digital Light Synthesis, it's a breakthrough process pioneered by Carbon, which uses digital light projection, oxygen-permeable optics and programmable liquid resins to generate high-performance, durable polymeric products. Adidas says it's planning to scale up production and produce more than 100,000 pairs of the FutureCraft 4D by the end of 2018.

In what it described as "a new era in design and manufacturing", Adidas on Thursday officially unveiled its Futurecraft 4-D, performance-oriented footwear with midsoles finessed with light and oxygen-infused technology. Their ultimate goal, however, is to customize each shoe to fit the unique contours of a person's foot. "Here, we can make one iteration in a day, or sometimes two, or three", Gerd Manz, Adidas' vice president of technology innovation told Digital Trends. What that meant for Adidas was creating the first ever 3D printed soles for its sneakers that use a liquid polymer as opposed to the solid plastic used in previous versions.

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

Adidas believes that, with this technology, it's possible to mass produce shoes that feature 3D-printed parts. See below for the official photos of the adidas Futurecraft 4D shoe. It didn't say how much the Futurecraft 4D will cost, except to explain that it will come at a premium to start.

And, unlike most 3D printing, the process can move at a quick pace.

"What you can do is introduce more types of products without a cost penalty", said Terry Wohlers, head of Wohlers Associates, a us consultancy specializing in 3D printing. Still, the technology has a long way to go before it becomes financially viable to offer more customization options to consumers. The first 3D runners retailed for $333, but sold secondhand for many times that.