Unlike collaborator Kanye West, who voiced his concern in September about three-dimensional printing “destroying” the fashion industry, Adidas isn’t threatened by the idea of people making their Yeezies at home. In fact, it’s counting on it. The sportswear giant unveiled on Wednesday the “Futurecraft 3D,” a 3D-printed, customized running-shoe midsole designed to meet the cushioning needs of an individual’s foot. Hailing it a “production breakthrough,” Adidas says the concept piece will take the running-shoe standard to the “next level” by offering a flexible carbon copy of the athlete’s foot, down to his or her exact contours and pressure points.
Adidas envisions its customer entering one of its stores, running briefly on a treadmill, and then almost immediately getting a custom-fitted, 3D-printed running shoe.
“Futurecraft 3D is a prototype and a statement of intent,” said Eric Liedtke, executive board member of Adidas, responsible for global brands, in a statement. “We have used a one-of-its-kind combination of process and material in an entirely new way. Our 3D-printed midsole not only allows us to make a great running shoe, but also to use performance data to drive truly bespoke experiences, meeting the needs of any athlete.”
The result of a partnership with Materialise, a leading provider of 3D-printing products and services, the Futurecraft 3D is only the “first step” in a series of projects dedicated to open-source innovation and collaboration.
“Futurecraft is our sandbox. It is how we challenge ourselves every day to explore the boundaries of our craft,” said Paul Gaudio, creative director at Adidas. “Driving material and process innovation, bringing the familiar into the future. Marrying the qualities of hand crafting and prototyping with the limitless potential of new manufacturing technologies. Futurecraft is stripped back—fast, raw, and real—it is our approach to design.”