The Futurecraft M.F.G. represents a crucial shift in supply chain dynamics

Global sportswear powerhouse Adidas has been at the forefront of recent footwear innovation with its Boost and Primeknit materials, and has now added to that impressive list with the introduction of a sneaker made almost entirely by robotic technology, dubbed the Futurecraft M.F.G. (Made For Germany).

The shoe was constructed at the company's first Speedfactory, a robot-staffed manufacturing center. While only 500 prototypes are planned for this year at the German-based factory, the technology signals an important evolution in mass-production techniques and supply chain logistics. Adidas currently outsources the majority of its sneaker manufacturing to Asia, where a workforce of cheap, local labor builds the shoes by hand. But in Speedfactories, manufacturing can occur closer to the most relevant markets, and by robotic machines capable of producing a pair in a matter of hours. A second Speedfactory is scheduled to open in Atlanta in 2017.

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