American footwear manufacturer New Balance has joined forces with design studio Nervous System to develop functional 3D-printed midsoles for performance running shoes.
New Balance also worked with 3D Systems to develop the top-of-the-line 3D printed midsoles that leverage the benefits of 3D printing and breakthrough in material science.
The company used 3D Systems’ newly developed elastomeric powder, DuraForm® Flex TPU to make a limited edition, state-of-the-art running shoe.
“The latest designs of the 3D-printed midsole are based on underfoot pressure data from heel strikers with more cushioning elements in areas of higher average pressure. This data to design formula follows the path that our designers used to create the award-winning Fresh,” the company said in a press release.
“For midsole production, we use selective laser sintering (SLS), a process which converts new powder materials into solid cross-sections, layer by layer, using a laser. DuraForm® Flex TPU powder gives the resulting parts a previously unavailable combination of strength and elasticity that is ideal for performance running shoes.”
New Balance’s state-of-the-art running shoe will launch first in Boston in April 2016 and then in select New Balance retail locations around the globe.
The shoes will also be on display and in use by employees in the 3D Systems booth at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) scheduled to take place in January 2016.
“This project represents an unprecedented technical collaboration in footwear. To deliver this level of performance with a 3D-printed component, we paired experts in running and biomechanics with leaders in plastics engineering, material development and generative design. These are the types of collaborations that will drive footwear design and manufacturing in the future,” said Sean Murphy New Balance Senior Manager of Innovation and Engineering.
“In 2013 we said this was the future of footwear manufacturing and today we are proud to bring the future to consumers with a fully 3D printed midsole. With 3D printing we are able to pursue performance customisation at a whole new level. The New Balance Innovation Team is showcasing the latest in performance running and these advancements signify an important step forward to becoming one of the world’s top athletic brands,” added New Balance President and CEO Robert DeMartini.