The new Adidas Futurecraft 4D. Photo: Adidas.
The new Adidas Futurecraft 4D. Photo: Adidas.

CAPE TOWN - Adidas and Silicon Valley 3D printer startup Carbon have revealed an innovative new shoe, called the Futurecraft 4D.

From what started as a concept, now turned into the world’s first high-performance footwear featuring midsoles crafted with light and oxygen using Digital Light Synthesis, a technology pioneered by Carbon.

Carbon is a Silicon Valley-based tech company working to revolutionise product creation through hardware, software, and molecular science. 

According to a report by TechCrunch, this new shoe is better suited for mass production and that Adidas plans on selling 5,000 pairs but it will scale up to more than 100,000 pairs by the end of 2018. 

Joseph Desimone, Co-Founder of Carbon and Chief said: “Despite the influence of technology to improve almost every other aspect of our lives, for aeons, the manufacturing process has followed the same four steps that make up the product development cycle – design, prototype, tool, produce. Carbon has changed that; we’ve broken the cycle and are making it possible to go directly from design to production. We’re enabling engineers and designers to create previously impossible designs, and businesses to evolve their offerings, and FutureCraft 4D is evidence of that. Our partnership with Adidas will serve as an ongoing testament to how the digital revolution has reached the global manufacturing sector, changing the way physical goods are designed, engineered, made, and delivered.”

What is 3D Printing? 

The 3D printing is the process of making a physical object from a three-dimensional digital model, typically by laying down many thin layers of a material in succession.

This is done under computer control to create a three-dimensional object. 

The soles of the Futurecraft shoe are 3D printed using a liquid resin that uses light to set the shape and heat to bind the mechanical properties, a process Carbon calls Digital Light Synthesis (DLS). 

According to Adidas, The Futurecraft 4D’s midsole is born out of 17 years of running data and brought to functional reality through a creation process that eliminated the necessity of traditional prototyping or moulding. 

Carbon says its DLS allows for the midsoles to be printed essentially with zero support material, meaning they can save on raw material costs and dramatically reduce manual post-processing steps of traditional additive manufacturing. 

Eric Liedtke, Adidas Group Executive responsible For Global Brands said: “With Digital Light Synthesis, we venture beyond limitations of the past, unlocking a new era in design and manufacturing. One driven by athlete data and agile manufacturing processes. By charting a new course for our industry, we can unleash our creativity- transforming not just what we make, but how we make it.”