Michael Phelps had an extra pep in his step during the 2016 Olympic Games opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro. His Under Armour sneakers were more than just comfortable, they were 3D printed. Under Armour has incorporated additive manufacturing into its product development process along with other major brands such as Nike and Adidas.
It’s no surprise that Under Armour, known for its innovative sports clothing and accessories, picked Phelps to showcase its 3D printed shoes. Not only is he one of the greatest Olympians of all time, but the company is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland -- Phelps’ hometown.
The new shoe is called “UA Architech” and according to Under Armour, the company now has the blueprint for infinite footwear innovation. In a Fortune article, Under Armour says it plans to release a new color of the shoe later this month. The first version was available in March and sold out in under 20 minutes.
Can 3D printed footwear improve performance?
The material used to create 3D printed shoes is extremely lightweight, flexible, and functional, which is important when every fraction of a second counts. Soles made custom for the individual could also eliminate pain and reduce risk of injury due to inadequate fit; and as we’ve seen before, injury can happen at any time.
Under Armour claims their new sneaker “provides dynamic stability with an alluring design” putting an athlete’s mind at ease if they’re worried about proper support. Amid the plethora of brands, styles, and colors to choose from, a shoe that’s custom to your needs wins over all.
Hey, what if I want a pair?
If you were one of the lucky 96 people to get your hands on Under Armour’s $300 3D printed shoes in March, then consider yourself lucky. The Under Armour website does have their Architech page available still, along with a short video including a small teaser about production, so perhaps you can grab a pair of the next version they release.
With leading companies like Under Armour, Nike, and Adidas raising the innovation bar for performance footwear, imagine the competitive products possible with 3D printers. We’ve only just seen the beginning. How will you use 3D printing technology to bring your innovations to life?
Image courtesy of Under Armour.
About the Author:
Angelle Erickson writes about how companies are using innovative technologies, such as 3D printers and SOLIDWORKS software to increase productivity, improve product development processes, and maximize business potential.