It’s called the Futurecraft 4D, and it’s the first performance shoe crafted from a remarkable resin that is custom-molded by light into a lattice-like sole—”air, light, and oxygen,” in Adidas’ marketing parlance.
It’s not as trippy as it sounds—3D-printed soles are nothing new, after all—but it is the first time a shoemaker has been able to 3D-print a customized shoe sole this fast, and in this kind of volume. Adidas says it’s planning to scale up production and produce more than 100,000 pairs of the FutureCraft 4D by the end of 2018. (The price tag is still forthcoming, but we’re betting it’ll cost more than your average pair of flip-flops.)
Adidas’ technical partner in creating the FutureCraft 4D, Carbon, pioneered the shoe’s production process, which the company calls Digital Light Synthesis. The FutureCraft’s midsoles are 3D-printed from liquid, in what looks eerliy similar to one of those android-manufacturing tanks from Westworld. The FutureCraft 4D will strike the fancy of tech zealots, road runners, and guys who just love really cool shoes.
Check out our gallery for more details on how Adidas and Carbon are changing the game—and a closer look at the FutureCraft 4D.