I feel like every other day we’re seeing the launch of another 3D printed pair of shoes, and now that the majority of these seem to be more functional than decorative, I’m totally on board. Several athletic gear companies have started to produce 3D printed athletic shoes, from Adidas and New Balance to Nike and Reebok; we’ve even seen 3D printed shoes at the Olympics and on the feet of one talented Miss America contestant. This week, leading Chinese sportswear brand Peak Sport released its own 3D printed sneaker, the Future, in Beijing.
The Future sneaker is Peak’s first big jaunt into the world of commercial 3D printing, and according to Global Times, the slick sneakers are the first ever commercial 3D printed athletic shoes on the market in China, though Chinese startup Jiaodu Technology did introduce a 3D foot scanner and ten pairs of partially 3D printed shoe models back in 2015.
At the Future sneakers official launch, Xu Zhihua, the general manager of Peak Sport, said, “The Future sneakers are the newest achievement brought by Peak Sport’s innovative strategy. Our target is to build Peak Sport into the most international, professional and innovative sports brand in China.”
Some very important guests attended the sneaker launch, including Peak Sport’s deputy general manager Lin Bilian, sports biomechanics professor Zhou Xinglong from Beijing Sport University, and Shen Xingyun, the head of the publicity department at the China Space Foundation.
Runners try Future Sneakers at the launch
The Future sneakers were modeled after the Peak brand’s popular Yuepao 5 shoe model. Advanced SLS 3D printing technology was used to make the midsole more flexible and light, and it also keeps the shoes comfortable and breathable. Peak used thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU) powder for the printing material, and the Future sneakers offer athletes a strong yet soft midsole, with elasticity to benefit runners.
The Peak Sport Future sneakers are available in Beijing for ¥1,299 (about $188), but while Xu explained that the Future is only the beginning of what Peak is planning, a global launch for the 3D printed shoe has not yet been confirmed.
The company has a total of five research and development centers, with four located in China and a US location in Los Angeles; the center in Beijing started developing the 3D printing shoe technology for its brand back in 2013, and has utilized it to make multiple products over the years, including customized shoes for NBA star Dwight Howard.
In the United States, you can see Peak’s non-3D printed shoes gracing the feet of other NBA players, including Tony Parker, Matthew Dellavedova, and George Hill.
“Peak Sport will continue technology innovation and keep producing professional sports products. Peak Sport will strive to become the leading sports brand in China and go international,” said Xu.
[Sources/Images: Footwear News / Global Times]