New Balance is breaking ground, announcing they will launch the first 3D printed running shoe next year.
Through an exclusive collaboration with 3D Systems and their newly developed elastomeric powder, DuraForm® Flex TPU, we have made significant advancements in the performance of printed parts for running shoes. The new midsoles leverage the benefits of 3D printing and breakthroughs in materials science to achieve an optimal balance of flexibility, strength, weight and durability. This limited edition, state-of-the-art running shoe will launch first in Boston in April 2016 and then in select New Balance retail locations around the globe. The shoes will also be on display and in use by employees in the 3D Systems booth at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January.
The latest designs of the 3D-printed midsole are based on underfoot pressure data from heel strikers with more cushioning elements in areas of higher average pressure. This data to design formula follows the path that our designers used to create the award-winning Fresh Foam collection. For midsole production, we use selective laser sintering (SLS), a process which converts new powder materials into solid cross-sections, layer by layer, using a laser. DuraForm® Flex TPU powder gives the resulting parts a previously unavailable combination of strength and elasticity that is ideal for performance running shoes.
“This project represents an unprecedented technical collaboration in footwear”, says Sean Murphy New Balance Senior Manager of Innovation and Engineering. “To deliver this level of performance with a 3D-printed component, we paired experts in running and biomechanics with leaders in plastics engineering, material development and generative design. These are the types of collaborations that will drive footwear design and manufacturing in the future.”
Before the New Balance 3D Printed shoes actually release in April 2016, they will debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. See more images as well as a video below.