American footwear brand New Balance has announced that it will be releasing a new sneaker range with innovative customisable soles. The 3D printed mid-soles will be tailored to the wearer’s running technique, measured using a grid of sensors that detect the force produced as the foot hits the ground and pushes off again.
The 3D-printed structure of the shoes is formed of a flexible elastomer with a porous biomimetic structure. Where more support is required – such as under the heel and the ball of the foot – the holes are created smaller and more closely gathered. This design gives the soles a low relative density, making them both strong and light. The three-dimensional cells geometrically adapt to different forces applied from the road, as well as the runner’s foot.
“This project represents an unprecedented technical collaboration in footwear,” Sean Murphy, senior manager of innovation and engineering at New Balance, explains. “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.”
All Images: New Balance
The 3D-printed New Balance range will be available from April 2016, with the customisable version on sale from 2017.