Forget about those flashy kicks that were knitted by a crocheting cyborg. Adidas have revealed what the future of sneakers will really look like with the Futurecraft 4D, the world’s first mass produced 3D printed shoe.
This isn’t the first time that the German brand has flirted with 3D printed shoes but their latest iteration is certainly the strongest indication yet of the technology’s feasibility in shoe manufacturing. To achieve their latest revolutionary feat Adidas enlisted the help of Carbon, a Silicon Valley based company backed by Google and General Electric who utilised their advanced Digital Light Synthesis process. In laymen terms it’s a rapid 3D printing process which the company claims to produce materials that are more durable and flexible than those of traditional injection moulded plastics.
The Digital Light Synthesis process itself creates complex 3D plastics by firing light at a it whilst it’s in a liquid state. According to Adidas, this process allows them to produce shoes on an entirely new manufacturing scale. Visually, the Futurecraft 4D is stunning to look at with a midsole that protrudes outwards and is completely see through from the lattice structure.
Whilst the first generation Futurecraft sneakers came out in very limited numbers, Adidas will release the Futurecraft 4D in numbers of 300 for friends and family first before releasing 5,000 more pairs for the upcoming season. Beyond that, Adidas has indicated that it plans to have 100,000 pairs of the Futurecraft 4D produced by the end of 2018.
Watch the video below which looks at the technology and the designers involved in this ambitious project.