Adidas is moving closer to a 3D printing shoe manufacturing revolution.

As earlier reported the sports shoe manufacturer used 3D printing to produce the Ultraboost Parley and 3D Runner releases in 2016. This year, Adidas are keen to up the tempo with their Speedfactory concept.

The concept is in industrial factories, where 3D printing and robotics can manufacture sneakers on-demand.

Adidas hope manufacturing will also become localized, eliminating costs associated with logistics and supply chains.

Large-scale production at German Speedfactory in Ansbach is set for mid-2017, with Adidas expecting to create 500,000 shoes a year in the future. While in the U.S, Adidas has announced plans to create a Speedfactory in Atlanta in late-2017.

Now we meet the 3D runner which was released by Adidas in December.

The 3D runner was the first 3D printed trainer that Adidas sold with prior use of the technology only for prototyping. The product was used by Adidas to test the market and the technology. Retailing at $333 on release, Adidas’ 3D runner is currently selling on ebay in excess of $3,000. Which is a huge increase in value and is a result of the limited numbers released. However, with the rise of the Speedfactory technique Adidas will look to increase availability through mass production.


The Adidas 3D printed runner. Photo via Engadget.

“The set-up of the first SPEEDFACTORY has kicked off in Ansbach, Germany, to propel a global network of automated production which brings cutting-edge technology to cities around the world. These first 500 pairs will help us set the scene for large-scale commercial production so each consumer can locally get what they want, when they want it, faster than ever.”

Why are they 3D printing?

One of the main reasons why Adidas are looking towards 3D printing as a manufacturing tool is for speed. The time-scale of developing a new sneaker product can span over a year and Adidas want to reduce this time dramatically. Using 3D printing as both a prototyping tool and a manufacturing technique will enable that. 3D printing will also allow Adidas to shorten their supply chain and in the future they plan to expand this by offering bespoke designs, as we’ve seen with Rolls Royce, and customizable options.


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