The Future of Sports with 3D printed shoes

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 3d printed shoe for athletes sports

3D print­ed shoe by Nike

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.

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