New Balance has enabled the first professional athlete to run a race in a 3-D printed shoe. Jack Bolas, the four-time All-American racer finished a 4:04:44 indoor mile in New York in January.
The track shoes were a truly custom pair, thanks to trials in a sensored version for New Balance designers to watch via high-speed cameras as his foot interacted with the shoes and the track. The manager of studio innovations at NB, Katherine Petrecca, explains "We can customize the orientation and size of the plastic cleats and the number and location of the metal spikes based on the data."
This process in the past included an expensive injection molding process, but with this 3-D innovation the creation is faster, cheaper, and vastly more in tune to what runners are looking for on the track. This all from a brand who has increased their focus on track and field in the past few years.
The best news for everyday runners is the possibility that New Balance will be able to print custom midsoles to fit consumer's gait, weight, and cushioning preference in the future. Sounds like a perfect fit.