Adidas has unveiled a new shoe concept, Futurecraft 4D, a high-performance line of footwear featuring midsoles produced via Digital Light Synthesis (DLS) technology from Carbon. According to Adidas, this technology has enabled a digital creation process for footwear components and eliminated the necessity of traditional prototyping or molding. The company says DLS enables it to operate on a different manufacturing scale and provide the best solution for each athlete. Futurecraft 4D is Adidas’s first application of DLS, and represents the brand’s step into athlete-data driven design and manufacturing.
The Digital Light Synthesis process uses digital light projection, oxygen-permeable optics and programmable liquid resins to generate high-performance, durable polymeric products. Adidas analyzed its library of running data to shape functional zones into a midsole design to be made via DLS, precisely addressing the movement, cushioning, stability and comfort needs of each athlete. Carbon's programmable resin platform provides the performance necessary in material durability and elastomeric responsiveness.
Three hundred pairs of Futurecraft 4D shoes are being released in April 2017 for friends and family, to be followed by more than 5,000 pairs for retail in fall/winter 2017, and further scaling in the coming seasons.
Through Futurecraft, Adidas started exploring additive manufacturing as a tool to change the way products are created in 2014, and launched Futurecraft 3D Runner, the brand’s first 3D-printed performance footwear a year later. Today the company is committed to scaling and mass-producing DLS footwear. The brand will continue to work with Carbon in developing new materials and machinery, and Digital Light Synthesis will be an integral part of its Speedfactory, which provides consumers with performance products tailored to their individual needs and desires.