October 8, 2015

Getting your hands on something that’s 3D-printed used to be a novelty, but not anymore. The technology is getting increasingly available to the masses, and forward-thinking companies and brands are incorporating them into their products to have an edge in the future market of 3D-printed goods. adidas is taking a step in that direction to offer a shoe (or rather, a series) that doesn’t seem to stray too far off from the esteemed Ultra Boost silhouette in terms of visual aesthetics – a slender-cut pointed toe box, minimal one-piece upper and high back/heel tab. Introducing Futurecraft 3D – an innovative 3D concept that will incorporate a unique 3D-printed running shoe midsole that is customised to suit the foot of any individual; we’re talking matching footprint, exact coutour details and even pressure points. The trellis-like midsole will definitely offer superior support and cushioning that’s fit to a T.

Do we want it? Yes. Do we need it? Probably not. Will they melt on hot asphalt? Don’t know. But what we do know is that the announcement of the prototype Futurecraft 3D also serves as a statement of intent, probably to counter Nike (they claim that consumers will soon be able to 3D print their own sneakers in future) and other competitors. Eric Leidtke, executive board member of adidas AG and one of two people spearheading this project, said, “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.”

In the near future, all you need to do is to walk into a store, run for a few minutes on a treadmill to record “performance data” before getting your very own bespoke 3D-printed running sneaker. A bold ambition by adidas, but definitely not an impossible one with the help of existing data sourcing and footscan technologies.

Although Kanye has gone on the record saying he’s not a supporter of 3D printing, we’re just gonna call it anyway – YEEZY Season 3-D will probably unveil itself before we know it (and before anyone else does it), amidst his rational fear that of what 3D printing might do to the textile industry.

While there are no prices or dates provided for the Futurecraft 3D, stay posted for more updates over the coming six months.

Check out the illustrative debut video of the prototype here: