Why Adidas is leaping into 3D design innovation

Imagine walking into an Adidas store, running briefly on a treadmill and instantly getting a 3D-printed running shoe – that's the ambition the sports brand has as part of its newly created design innovation arm Futurecraft.

The initiative this week revealed Futurecraft 3D, a 3D-printed prototype running shoe midsole which can be tailored to the cushioning needs of an individual’s foot.

Created through an open source partnership with Materialise, a specialist in 3D printing, the shoe is the first in the 'Futurecraft Series' with more design innovations to be announced over the next six months.

Paul Gaudio, creative director at Adidas, said: "Futurecraft is our sandbox. It is how we challenge ourselves every day to explore the boundaries of our craft. Driving material and process innovation, bringing the familiar into the future. Marrying the qualities of handcrafting and prototyping with the limitless potential of new manufacturing technologies. Futurecraft is stripped back – fast, raw and real – it is our approach to design."

The shoe itself is a "flexible, fully breathable carbon copy" of the athlete’s own footprint, matching exact contours and pressure points, to set the athlete up for the best running experience. Linked with existing data sourcing and footscan technologies, it also opens unique opportunities for immediate in-store fittings.

Eric Liedtke, executive board member of Adidas, added that the shoe is a "prototype and a statement of intent".

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