Adidas just took the covers of Futurecraft 3D, a 3D printed concept running shoe that takes us a step closer to a world where we can walk into a running store and have bespoke running shoes printed for us while we wait.
While that reality is still a way off, the advent of technologies like Adidas Primeknit and Nike FlyKnit, where the uppers are woven as a single piece, have already made the manufacture of running shoes far simpler. While Nike ID has also given us a taste for customised running shoes – in colour and design at least.
These innovations have long begged the question, when will we be able to print our own bespoke shoes, tailored to our own peculiarities that are so often shown up in those running gait tests?
Well the answer is sooner than you might think if Adidas has anything to do with it.
The new Adidas Futurecraft 3D concept has been designed to offer a unique 3D-printed running shoe midsole which can be tailored to the cushioning needs of an your foot. The vision is a simple one.
“Imagine walking into an Adidas store, running briefly on a treadmill and instantly getting a 3D-printed running shoe – this is the ambition of the adidas 3D-printed midsole. Creating a flexible, fully breathable carbon copy of the athlete’s own footprint, matching exact contours and pressure points, it will set the athlete up for the best running experience. Linked with existing data sourcing and footscan technologies, it opens unique opportunities for immediate in-store fittings.”
It’s a noble ambition but how is it actually real or just some clever people with some big ideas? Well, importantly there are pairs of the Futurecraft 3D in existence. The process has been tested to the end that there’s footwear you could slip on right now. In fact Manvmiles has been told we’ll get to try some out in the next couple of days.
So When Is It Going to Be In a Store Near You?
Well we wouldn’t be getting your footscanner out just yet.
“Futurecraft 3D is a prototype and a statement of intent. We have used a one-of-its-kind combination of process and material in an entirely new way,” said Eric Liedtke, Executive Board Member of adidas AG, responsible for Global Brands. “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.”
A lot of miles will be run before we’re in that brave new world. However, the fact is there are a lot of benefits for the consumer and the big manufacturers in having a made-to-order option.
For a start they’d only need to make the shoes they sell. That’s good news for cutting wastage cost from unsold products. That’s also great for the environment, another big box ticked for the increasingly eco-conscious brands.
Second having your footprint logged with Adidas or Nike could be a brilliant way to build even stronger brand loyalty. Moving wouldn’t quite be like shifting bank accounts but we are creatures of habit. Why bother getting another footscan done?
But what will they actually run like? Well we hope to find out soon.