At least that’s what Boston shoe manufacturer New Balance says.
A sprinter’s shoes require purchase on a track to accelerate and maintain speed as runners explode out of the blocks. And when success is measured in milliseconds, every advantage counts.
To stack advantage in the elite athlete’s court, New Balance can “print” custom tailored spike plates with 3D printer technology for a custom grip on the ground.
New Balance collects an athlete’s biomechanical data at their Sports Research Lab during simulated races. Sensors in the shoe capture motion and force and translate the data into custom 3D printed spikes.
3D printing allows for complex designs that are otherwise impossible through traditional manufacturing methods.
The new printed designs weigh about 5% less than its traditionally manufactured counterpart and take hours to produce a handful of soles (as opposed to months to manufacture thousands of components).
Can we look forward to seeing these applications at our local Foot Locker?
The heart and sole of the average Joe runner hangs in the balance of the midsole. Keenly aware of this, New Balance is working on printing softer components that mimic the cushioning midsole.
Will your shoes soon come from a printer instead of a factory? It’s still a while away, but it seems that sci-fi scenario may become reality in the not-so-distant future.