As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to impact the fashion industry, even our footwear is being treated to a profound makeover. Prime examples of this technological revolution include Shift Sneakers, which feature a “smart surface” to allow you to change the design of the shoe and Volvorii shoes, which come equipped with an e-ink display.
Adidas has also recognized that times are changing and the sports giant recently presented an innovation that, although not (yet) IoT-compatible, makes use of a different modern technology — 3D printing.
Adidas describes its Futurecraft 3D running shoe as “a prototype and a statement of intent”. The sportswear manufacturer has developed a proprietary 3D technology designed to enable the production of a completely innovative shoe. The concept is explained in video below.
New carbon sole looks good, feels good
At the heart of the Futurecraft 3D design is a carbon running shoe midsole, which is 3D printed according to the unique dimensions of a person’s foot. The benefit for customers is clear: Runners depend on shoes fitting their feet perfectly, like a second skin. But until now, the optimum fit has only been approximated based on size and shape.
The company’s Futurecraft vision is for the customer to go to an Adidas store and spend a few minutes on a treadmill while their feet are precisely measured. The shop will then use the data to produce a perfectly fitting carbon running shoe using a 3D printer. The grid design also becomes a visible feature of the shoe, so the wearer can look good as well as feel good.
This concept would herald the end of shop assistants measuring feet and bringing out different sizes of shoe from the back room for you to try. No room for disappointment either. The shoe you want will always be stock, 3D-printed while you wait.
The idea certainly sounds alluring, but the means to deliver it is still a way off. How long exactly? Adidas hasn’t said. But one thing is certain: We can expect further design innovations within the next six months.
Futurecraft is an initiative for “creative collaboration”, in which Adidas enters into open source partnerships for new product development. In the case of the Futurecraft 3D concept, this partnership is with 3D printing specialist Materialise. Find out more here.