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Custom-Built Running Shoes

The custom shoe market has taken another step forward (pardon the bad pun) with announcements from Brooks Running Co. and Under Armour.

Under Armour is expanding its 3D printed footwear operations through a partnership with 3D printing equipment supplier EOS. The latter will provide Under Armour with advanced laser sintering technology.

“This partnership is set to achieve Under Armour’s goal to industrialize and scale 3D printing of performance footwear,” Glynn Fletcher, president of EOS North America, said in a statement. “True additive manufacturing has come to Under Armour; no other athletic brand can make this statement.”

The sportswear maker and the EOS Additive Minds consulting division will also work together to develop new polymer-based materials and advanced laser sintering platforms.

“With EOS’ industry-leading laser sintering 3D printing technology, Under Armour can deliver shoes to the marketplace in a meaningful way, creating truly amazing, desirable products which solve our customers’ needs in ways that could have never been imagined before. Together, our two organizations make a formidable pair,” said Clay Dean, Chief Innovation Officer, Under Armour.

Under Armour hopes to industrialize and scale its 3D printing operations. The company announced its UA Architect 3D-printed shoes last March, and even provided a pair with a custom midsole for Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps.

Brooks, on the other hand, has partnered with HP and Superfeet to create personalized performance running shoes based on each customer’s “unique biomechanics.” The shoes will be available through select retailers and by special order next summer.

The personalized shoes are an extension of the company’s Run Signature initiative to create custom footwear. “Brooks is committed to providing the fit, feel and ride each runner wants. The ability to give an individual a personalized shoe based on his or her unique biomechanics is a game changer. It is a compelling offering for the runner who is interested in tip-of-the-spear technology and a totally tuned experience,” said Brooks CEO Jim Weber. “As part of our focus on reinventing performance running, we will continue to push the envelope to bring runners innovations that help them uniquely tailor their run.”

The company will leverage HP’s FitStation solution to provide 3D foot scanning, gait analysis, and foot pressure measurements. Data from the FitStation analysis is then passed off to Superfeet, which will make the shoes on its DESMA polyurethane injection-molding machine. The midsole is designed around the foot pressure measurements, movement analysis of the runner’s joints, and the customer’s personal preferences.

Source: Brooks, EOS

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