3D Printing

New Balance's 3D printed soles might put a spring in your step

New Balance claims the running shoes with 3D-printed midsole will offer an unprecedented combination of strength and elasticity
New Balance claims the running shoes with 3D-printed midsole will offer an unprecedented combination of strength and elasticity
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New Balance claims the running shoes with 3D-printed midsole will offer an unprecedented combination of strength and elasticity
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New Balance claims the running shoes with 3D-printed midsole will offer an unprecedented combination of strength and elasticity
New Balance is the latest footwear company to bring 3D printing into its manufacturing mix
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New Balance is the latest footwear company to bring 3D printing into its manufacturing mix

New Balance is the latest footwear company to bring 3D printing into its manufacturing mix, launching a shoe with an advanced sole promised to offer new strength and elasticity. The company says advances in material sciences and an apparently fruitful partnership with 3D printing specialists 3D Systems are behind the high-tech runners.

Specifically, it is the midsoles in New Balance's newest offering that are claimed to represent an advance in high performance running shoes. This is the cushioned pad that rests between the outsole and the upper sole, or the part in between the bits that touch the ground and the foot.

The key ingredient is a new material developed by 3D Systems called DuraForm Flex TPU. This elastomeric powdering is shaped into midsoles layer-by-layer through selective laser sintering (SLS), with the designs optimized based on underfoot pressure data gathered by New Balance. 3D Systems says this approach has brought about new possibilities in terms of midsole flexibility, strength, weight and durability.

The potential benefits of using 3D printing to produce footwear include shoes that are lighter and custom molded for a more comfortable fit, with Adidas, Nike and less sporty outfits like Sols all getting in on the action. For New Balance's part, its shoes won't be custom-printed for each person, but it claims they will offer an unprecedented combination of strength and elasticity, which it describes as ideal for running shoes.

The limited edition footwear will be on show at CES in January 2016, then become available first in Boston in April and selected New Balance retailers around the globe after that.

You can see the short promo video below.

Source: New Balance, 3D Systems

3 comments
Bob Flint
Please tell me that this is more than a custom foamed sole, at least have some sensors embedded into the shoe for pressure tracking? Oh those tiny openings will probably soak up shock but most likely also dirt, water sand, etc.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
Had Merrell breathable sole non-leather shoes once. Can't find them anymore!
Don Duncan
Much ado about very little. A new way to cushion? I have worn a Spira, with tempered steel springs (3) for over 5 years. Now that is how to cushion. And I have velcro instead of laces. I could not stand to go back. I testify as a 73 year old who has a simple $30 phone, don't text , take pictures, or surf on it. My point is: I am not a tech junkie but neither do I ignore tech that is obviously practical. I appreciate my shoes every day.