With much talk buzzing around the fashion industryof the rise of 3D printing to create new fashion forward direction in clothing, it seems the purpose of this technique goes well beyond its aesthetic possibilities.
Now sports shoe brand, New Balance, has announced plans to create a track specific running shoe that uses 3D printing to create a plate on the sole of the shoe that is supposed to enhance performance with every step.
Right now, this process is only for New Balance elite, sponsored athletes, but, said Katherine Petrecca, the company’s business manager of studio innovation, that will change with time. “The technology is early and our implementation is still really in a very early phase, but you can envision as the technology improves and capacity increases — and cost comes down — the audience who will benefit from customisation will just grow and grow and grow. This will get down eventually to the casual athlete.”
It wasn’t singularly demand or technology that drove the development of the technique, said Chris Wawrousek, studio innovation lead designer, it was the idea that the industry is at a watershed moment, thanks to both demand and technology. “It feels like a new industrial revolution in some ways. We’re no longer limited by scale to produce a product, and customization can be totally practical.”