Sports companies are looking into 3d printed technology to provide comfort and customization to their customers. Selective laser Sintering is the 3D Printing process adopted by top sports manufacturing companies to create 3d printed shoes. Top companies in sports shoes manufacturing, like Nike, new Balance and Adidas have used 3d printed technology in their recent design releases for sports shoes. This new process allows companies to mass customise design of sports shoes as per their customer’s needs.
Nike: 3D printing is the Future of Sports Industry
As clearly stated by Nike, the Sportswear giant, 3d printing is the future to optimize the production process and to create innovative ideas. The company views additive manufacturing as a strategy to achieve its goal. They are exploring innovative ways to manufacture sports products and to help athletes reach their full potential.
Nike, Adidas and New Balance
Nike is not alone in the race of 3d printed shoes. Adidas and New Balance are increasing their additive manufacturing capabilities. And a new competition is emerging from crowd funded 3d printed shoes manufacturers like Wiivv and OLT foot care. In the response to this, Nike has partnered with the IT Company HP to double up its additive manufacturing innovation process. With the current updates on its solutions, the future is just around the corner.
Nike is adopting Additive Manufacturing
Nike has been filling patents to adopt several additive manufacturing techniques to improve its production processes. In 2012, the company filed a patent for “automated strobe printing” which is a highly labor-intensive process. By 2018, Nike stated that its 3D printed prototyping process is 16 time faster than any previous manufacturing process. In 2016, Nike introduced its revolutionary customised 3d printed shoes for top athletes. They designed a 3D printed track shoe for Sprinter Allyson Felix. At that Olympic year, Felix won two gold medals. The outcomes of testing 3D printed shoes motivated Nike and they strive to improve the performance of their Shoes further.
Nike Shoes for everyone
Nike is exploring new ways to bring customized shoes to the customer’s beyond elite athletes only. Nikes focus will be on scaling the production while reducing costs to a level that any customer will find acceptable. Nike is clearly on the track to double up the opportunity that additive manufacturing is bringing to the sportswear industry and converting its capabilities into competitive advantage. Should Nike perfect its footwear capabilities before moving to other 3d printed sports equipment like tennis rackets, and gold clubs?
Failing to get into these applications timely will risk the company losing ground. On the other side, spreading it resources might slow-down the innovation in sports footwear industry where Nike will face heavy competition from dedicated players who make such trade-offs.
As stated by Nike Eric Sprunk ”One day consumer will be able to buy a shoe design file from Nike and they can print it at home”. From this statement and the above discussion it can easily be concluded that Nike is going to make the future of sportswear with 3d printable.