When Adidas showed off its Futurecraft 3D concept late last year, it wasn't really clear how close to reality 3D-printed shoes were. Well, they're much closer today. Under Armour is debuting its UA Architechs, a new training shoe that has a 3D-printed midsole. Okay, so this isn't quite reaching Adidas' dream of personalising shoes based on individuals' needs, but 3D-printing does have its uses.
The midsole here provides what Under Armour refers to as a "dynamic stability platform." It's an interlacing lattice structure that's supposed to bring all the benefits of "energy returning" foams, while offering improved stability. The idea is to create a shoe that's just as suitable for cross training as it is for weight lifting.
Whether 3D-printing is actually required to create this lattice, or if regular manufacturing techniques could handle it just fine, isn't clear. But it's nonetheless an important step along the journey to creating a 3D-printed shoe for the masses. The UA Architechs are being produced on a super-limited run -- only 96 will be made -- and will be sold at $300.