Adidas has been working with 3D printing technologies for a few years, trying to find new ways to make footwear. Its FUTURECRAFT division, for instance, aims to shape the future of sports through its innovations with concepts, such as the FUTURECRAFT 4D shoes with a 3D printed lattice sole. Recently, Adidas announced its latest technology, STRUNG, a revolutionary textile innovation that aims to further improve footwear performance.
Right now, the team is able to build and test different structures in the software before sending their design to the STRUNG robot, which places each thread into a single composite with specific performance zones and properties. Besides, the prototype weighs just 220g (7.7oz).
Adidas’ Futurecraft team uses Digital Light Synthesis technology to create the STRUNG 3D printed shoes
While FUTURECRAFT 4D used 3D printing technologies to fabricate the sole, STRUNG uses a unique process to combine the athlete’s profile, additive manufacturing, and robotics to create the shoe. The result is a lightweight upper that’s fits precisely to give support, flex, and breathability — all within one piece of material.
Moreover, the STRUNG shoe does not need reinforcement from other components that can hinder the natural movement of athletes, as is the case with other textiles.
Being able to manufacture a custom part is one of the most beneficial characteristics of additive manufacturing. Therefore, Adidas’ latest shoe concept combines STRUNG technology for the upper and FUTURECRAFT technology for the midsole. In fact, the midsole is made with Carbon’s DLS (Digital Light Synthesis). This Additive Manufacturing technology relies on a photopolymerization process to harden a resin layer by layer and create the performance-enhancing lattice structure.
The first STRUNG shoe for the public is currently in development. It will be released in late 2021 or early 2022. Adidas wants to expand the use of the STRUNG upper to other sports. You can find more information about FUTURECRAFT.STRUNG project on the Adidas official website.