Adidas upgrades its high-end sneaker line with a 3D-printed midsole

When adidas unveiled its Furturecraft technology last year the idea was to use a 3D printed sole to create a custom made fit to meet each individual’s needs. The long-term goal is for athletes to walk into an adidas store, run on a treadmill for a few minutes to obtain a scan of their foot and stride, and a short time later leave with custom made shoes designed just for them. That vision is still a few steps away, but in January of this year the company began shipping its first Futurecraft models that use a 3D-printed sole. Now, that same technology has found its way into more shoes as part of Adidas’ Y-3 line of high-end sneakers.

Designed by Yohji Yamamoto, the Y-3 line has been a part of the Adidas catalog for more than 15 years. During that time, Yamamoto has earned himself a reputation for being a designer who likes to push boundaries, particularly in the area of new technology. He has always been on the forefront of athletic performance and style, all of which come together in the latest Y-3 shoe, dubbed the Runner 4D.

Available in classic Adidas black and white, the Runner 4D features a lightweight Primeknit upper seamlessly intermixed with leather overlays. The shoe is wrapped in a stylish yet functional three-cord cage that has been designed to mimic Adidas’ iconic three-stripe logo.

Of course, the star of the show is the 3D-printed Futurecraft sole, which has been much coveted among sneaker collectors. The Y-3 version of the sole retains the distinctive mint-green color and lightweight design, not to mention the distinctive mesh look that is comprised of 20,000 individual struts. This should give the Runner 4D impressive performance to go along with its fashion-forward looks.

The Futurecraft sole came about as a collaboration between Adidas and a Silicon Valley startup named Carbon. The company developed a process in which it could create a 3D -rinted product using a special liquid polymer resin that is crafted into a desired shape using ultraviolet light. The process could revolutionize the use of 3D printing in manufacturing, making it faster, more efficient, less expensive, and more reliable.

Adidas says that it intends to release more Futurecraft shoes throughout 2018, but for now the Y-3 Runner 4D is its current project. The shoes don’t come cheap, however, as they carry a $535 price tag, although there are reports of them selling for much more among collectors.


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