Adidas races ahead of Nike with 3D printed shoe mass production first

Adidas runs past Nike with 3D printed shoe mass production first

Sportswear manufacturer Adidas is embracing 3D printing technology to mass produce soles for its latest range of trainers as part of efforts to offer consumers greater customization options.

The German brand has pioneered offering consumers a choice colour and pattern when ordering shoes online but will now take that a step further by embracing small production runs of its limited edition Futurecraft 4D show - down to tailoring soles for an individual’s gait and weight.

This makes Adidas the first shoe brand to crack commercial 3D printing with the likes of Nike and Under Armour which have struggled to progress beyond simple prototyping.

Gerd Manz, head of head of technology innovation at Adidas, said: “This is a milestone not only for us as a company but also for the industry. We've cracked some of the boundaries.”

Adidas’s success stems from its partnership with 3D printing start-up Carbon, which has devised a means of printing with light sensitive polymer resin.

Despite such progress just 5,000 pairs of the Futurecraft 4D shoes are expected to be made this year, rising to 100,000 next year as printing time is reduced to as little as 20 minutes per slow.

Vehicle manufacturer Ford recently began its own pilot of 3d printing component manufacture.

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