Skip to main content

Stepping up its game, New Balance just 3D-printed running shoe components

Forget fine Italian craftsmanship or handmade-in-America labels — when it comes to the next generation of running shoes, we’re going back to the machines. New Balance has just launched its first ever 3D-printed running shoe because if your competitors are doing it, you’ve gotta do it too. Taking its cue from Adidas, which recently debuted its Futurecraft 3D, New Balance has announced a very high-tech update to its Fresh Foam Zante model, which will now feature a 3D-printed midsole.

Heralded as the first-ever running shoe to utilize 3D printing technology in this way, the Fresh Foam Zante will make its debut in April just in time for the Boston Marathon. This limited edition collection will feature “a couple hundred” shoes, and New Balance plans to sell the latest model in more locations later in 2016. By using elastomeric powder as its material, the athletic wear company believes that it has managed to overcome the material challenge of printing a light, flexible, yet durable sole. In a process called selective laser sintering, the company explains that cross-sections of the shoe’s sole are added one level at a time through laser application.

“This project represents an unprecedented technical collaboration in footwear” Sean Murphy, New Balance Senior Manager of Innovation and Engineering, said in a press release. “To deliver this level of performance with a 3D-printed component, 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.”

New Balance has certainly experimented with 3D printing with its shoes in the past. In 2013, the company began producing 3D-printed, cushioned spike plates, used most often by competitive runners. “In 2013 we said this was the future of footwear manufacturing and today we are proud to bring the future to consumers with a fully 3D printed midsole,” New Balance president and CEO Robert DeMartini said. “With 3D printing we are able to pursue performance customization at a whole new level. The New Balance Innovation Team is showcasing the latest in performance running and these advancements signify an important step forward to becoming one of the world’s top athletic brands.”

Lulu Chang
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Fascinated by the effects of technology on human interaction, Lulu believes that if her parents can use your new app…
NASA is testing a 3D printer that uses moon dust to print in space
The Redwire Regolith Print facility suite, consisting of Redwire's Additive Manufacturing Facility, and the print heads, plates and lunar regolith simulant feedstock that launches to the International Space Station.

The Redwire Regolith Print facility suite, consisting of Redwire's Additive Manufacturing Facility and the print heads, plates, and lunar regolith simulant feedstock that launches to the International Space Station. Redwire Space

When a Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) this week, it carried a very special piece of equipment from Earth: A 3D printer that uses moon dust to make solid material.

Read more
The best 3D printers under $500
3D printers are finally affordable. Here are the best models under $500
anycubic photon review 3d printer xxl 2

The 3D printing market has seen quite a few changes over the last few years. In just the span of a decade, the barrier to entry has dropped from well over several thousand dollars to under $200 in some cases. However, all entry and mid-level printers are not made equal. We have a few suggestions for prospective buyers and other information regarding alternatives not found on this list.

To some veterans of the 3D printing scene, this list may seem like it lacks a few of the most commonly recommended printers for newcomers. This is by design. Our list only considers printers with tested components from proven, reliable vendors. That's why we chose the Monoprice MP Mini v2 as our top pick--it's reliable and easy to use. We have avoided any printer with a frame primarily made from interlocking acrylic pieces and anything historically unreliable.
Most bang for your buck: Monoprice MP Mini v2
 
Pros:

Read more
Ceramic ink could let doctors 3D print bones directly into a patient’s body
ceramic ink 3d printed bones bioprinting australia 2

Scientists use a novel ink to 3D print ‘bone’ with living cells

The term 3D bioprinting refers to the use of 3D printing technology to fabricate biomedical parts that, eventually, could be used to create replacement organs or other body parts as required. While we’re not at that point just yet, a number of big advances have been made toward this dream over the past couple of decades.

Read more