Adidas continues to stay focused on splashy innovation stories, unveiling today the Futurecraft 4D, a new performance shoe featuring a midsole made from light and oxygen, using digital light synthesis, a technology pioneered by California-based tech company Carbon that uses “digital light projection, oxygen-permeable optics, and programmable liquid resins to generate high-performance, durable polymeric product,” according to press.
If all of these sounds vaguely familiar, that’s because Futurecraft 4D is a follow up to Adidas’s Futurecraft 3D runner, which Adidas announced last year and first made available through a very limited launch in December 2016.
Adidas says the new technology opens the door to a new form of manufacturing above and beyond 3D printing in that the sole is build based on “17 years of running data,” and is made through a digital component creation process described as “additive manufacturing” that eliminates the need for prototypes.
With the new technology, Adidas predicts it will “operate on a completely different manufacturing scale and sport performance quality, officially departing from 3D printing, bringing additive manufacturing in the sport industry into a new dimension.”
If you’re not familiar with Carbon, it’s described in Adidas press as “a Silicon Valley-based tech company working to revolutionize product creation through hardware, software, and molecular science.” Founded in 2013, the company is known for its development of 3D printers to produce medical devices and car parts.
Given its roots, it’s noteworthy that Adidas and Carbon have partnered, though it has precedence with Adidas’s collaboration with BASF, the German chemical company responsible for the Boost platform.
Three hundred pairs of Futurecraft 4D will be released in April 2017 for friends and family, and 5,000 pairs will hit retail in fall 2017.
Check out a video introducing the Futurecraft 4D below.