Everything has turned high tech.
We can 3D print our food and our kids go on field trips in virtual reality.
Our fridges can order our food when we’re low. Even the kitchen sink has high-tech flair now with its touchscreen and instant boiling and chilled and sparkling water like this beauty from Quatreau.
Plus, now our shoes can tie themselves with high-tech adaptive laces. Of course, our shoes can also track our steps using IoT devices that keep us in tune with our activity levels. So why not throw another bit of disruptive tech into the shoe mix?
Why not 3D print our shoes?
Small Biz Trends asks a relevant question–will this be a major opportunity for small businesses to step in to fill a profitable niche?
Feetz and United Nude have done just that, touting a more customized fit thanks to 3D printing technology. So have Nike and Adidas.
Just recently, Adidas announced their own 3D printed shoes, 5000 pairs of which will be produced in 2017 for a to-be-determined price. That number is supposed to rise to 100,000 in 2018, and eventually become a widespread offering for everyone wants a pair of high-tech kicks. These are called the Futurecraft 4D, a newly redesigned and more widely available version of their Futurecraft 3D shoes which they announced in 2015.
The latticework-type midsole is the part of the shoe that is 3D printed.
Adidas paired up with Carbon to do the printing, the same ultraviolet “dip” 3D printing that we discussed in our article here on the Top 10 3D Printing Companies to Watch in 2017.
USA Today made a video that explains the process of creating the shoes using this method (and offers some fabulous sci-fi imagery of their creation.)
Other big name companies such as Nike have created their own 3D printed shoes, but did so on a very limited basis. For example, here is a stunning pair of 3D printed cleats that Nike created:
Nike is focusing predominantly on athletics as they do with many of their products, and the cleats are no different.
UnderArmour has entered the 3D printed shoe stadium ready to compete as well.
The difference here is Adidas’ public goal to make 3D printed shoes a norm that is available to everyone.
As Small Biz Trends mentioned, this could open huge doorways for budding businesses. As more shoe companies decide to implement 3D printing processes, someone will need to be there to fulfill these orders en masse. Not to mention, there’s a lot of room for design and modeling of the shoes as well. New structures open a lot of opportunities around shoe design that were impossible or impractical to create in the past.
There is a lot of room for ergonomics and customization that is yet unexplored as well as opportunity for production innovation to help bring these inventions to market on a wide scale.
Personally, I'm just hoping to see huge pools of alien-like goo with shoes emerging like some sort of sci-fi fashion extravaganza. At least in a commercial.