3D printing has helped boost our performance in sports in a variety of ways; we’ve previously explored the power of 3D printing in the world of biking, with printers now able to print impressive, uber-light, high-performing super bikes. One of the other key ways in which 3D printing is helping to support our athletic endeavours is in the world of sportswear; sports manufacturers are frequently attempting to develop more durable, higher-quality sportswear that uses smart technology which responds to the needs and capabilities of the wearer. Prodways Group are the latest company to have developed some 3D printed sports shoes; find out more about their creation below.
Prodways Group, a 3D printing specialist based in France, have developed a 3D printer that allows for the faster manufacturing of more durable and performance boosting sports shoes. The printer can be used with a durable elastomeric material, made from proprietary thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) - which has a break capacity of over 300 per cent. This material has been used to print outsoles, midsoles and insoles.
The material used to fashion the shoes is lightweight, durable and ideal for sportsmen and women, as the 3D printed midsoles are flexible, possess a ‘great bounce’ and offer high fatigue resistance. The material can also be printed at a lower weight and allows for highly-complex designs and structures to be used for the development of the shoe.
This form of manufacturing also allows for quicker production speeds, as companies will not need to undertake the time consuming tooling process. The high-speed technology allows for shoe molds to be printed within mere hours, drastically cutting down the production times required to manufacture each shoe.
The impressive shoe designing feats of the company have caught the attention of sportshoe manufacturing giant Nike, who have been impressed by the technologies ability to print complex designs in a flexible, durable material at an impressive speed. In addition, the shoe can be molded to the specific needs of the wearer, as the hardness of the sole changes in response to the weight of the wearer and the demands of each activity undertaken by them.
TCT Magazine share more about the technology below:
“Additionally, Prodways believes its offering of premium laser sintering 3D printers supplements the capabilities of the TPU material, and takes the additive manufacturing of sportswear midsoles to industrial level-standard. Meanwhile, Prodways is using its MOVINGLight additive manufacturing technology to print resistant composite moulds to inject or compress a series of final outsoles with designs tailored to the user and complex structures which can help to improve performance. Prodways say MOVINGLight’s combination of high resolution and productivity allows to print production-ready moulds within hours.”
Better sport shoes for athletes
Prodways are leading the way in new designs that will allow for a better sporting experience. What will come next in the world of 3D-printed sportswear? We look forward to seeing more innovative developments in the field unfold.