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Innovation in 3D printing

Exploring the use of three-dimensional printing techniques and their application to the footwear industry.

Mass customisation is becoming more achievable with the development of 3D printed midsoles, spikes/cleats and 3D knitted uppers. While 3D printing has been used in the footwear industry for nearly 20 years, it has not been highlighted as a selling point. This is because it has been used only at the design stage as a means of rapid prototyping. The development of 3D printed midsoles means that footwear midsoles and components can now be made specifically to suit the individual user’s foot – for instance, tailor-made running spikes, orthopaedic shoes and medical orthoses/inserts. The footwear industry is finding new ways to use 3D printing. These innovations are moving the process away from the development stage of footwear and placing it in the hands of consumers – allowing them to create customised footwear.

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