Written By Angela Moscaritolo Via PCMag.com
The race to bring a 3D-printed shoe to market is on.
New Balance on Thursday announced plans to start selling what it promises to be the first-ever running shoe with a 3D-printed midsole in April 2016. But the company will have some competition on that front from Adidas, which last month showed off its own 3D-printed running shoe prototype.
New Balance created its upcoming shoe with the help of 3D Systems and plans to launch it first in Boston before making it available in select retail locations around the world. Those attending CES in January will be among the first to get a peek at the limited-edition shoe in person.
The company said it used "underfoot pressure data from heel strikers" to formulate its latest 3D-printed midsole designs, which feature more cushioning elements in areas of higher-than-average pressure. They're using a process called selective laser sintering, which converts power materials into solid cross sections, layer by layer, using a laser. The result, New Balance says, is a "previously unavailable combination of strength and elasticity that is ideal for performance running shoes."
This isn't New Balance's first foray into 3D printing. The company in 2013 became the first athletic brand to have a track athlete, middle distance runner Jack Bolas, compete in 3D-printed spike plates.