Adidas Is Looking To Create The First Mass-Produced, 3D-Printed Shoe

Adidas Is Looking To Create The First Mass-Produced, 3D-Printed Shoe
Design & Architecture

The breakthrough process uses digital light projection, oxygen-permeable optics and programmable liquid resins

Emma Hutchings
  • 12 april 2017

Adidas has unveiled Futurecraft 4D, high-performance footwear featuring midsoles crafted with light and oxygen using a breakthrough process pioneered by tech company Carbon. This process, known as Digital Light Synthesis, eliminates the need for traditional prototyping or moulding. It uses digital light projection, oxygen-permeable optics and programmable liquid resins to generate high-performance, durable polymeric products.


With the aim of creating the ultimate running shoe for everyone, adidas analyzed its library of running data to shape functional zones into a midsole design. Digital Light Synthesis enables the brand to precisely address the needs of each athlete in regards to movement, cushioning, stability, and comfort with one single component. It also overcomes the shortcomings of conventional additive manufacturing methods, like low production speed and scale, poor surface quality, and color and material restrictions, allowing adidas to quickly deliver innovative, mass-produced products to consumers.

Eric Liedtke, adidas Executive Board Member responsible for Global Brands, said in a press release:

“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.”

5,000 pairs of Futurecraft 4D will be available at retail in fall/winter 2017, with further scaling in the coming seasons. Adidas will continue to work with Carbon to develop new material and machinery that bring about future innovations. You can learn more about this new high-performance footwear in the video below:


+Additive manufacturing
+digital light projection
+programmable liquid resin

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