Over the last few years, 3D printing technology has increasingly been integrated into the world of fashion. One area in which it has especially proven beneficial is footwear, from high-end heels that belong on the runway to running shoes created for the track. The emerging technology has already been adopted by some of the biggest footwear manufacturers in the world, including New Balance, Under Armor, Reebok, Nike, and Adidas.
Not only does 3D printing allow these shoes to be be custom designed to fit the needs of each individual wearer, it can also apparently have a positive impact on the environment. This was proven by the athletic shoe company Adidas last year, when they unveiled a conceptual sneaker that was composed of 3D printed recycled ocean waste. Now, that earth-conscious concept is seeing a limited release to the public in mid-November. The sneakers, which were created in collaboration with the environmental group Parley for the Oceans, are limited to around 7,000 pairs, and will be available on the Adidas website for $220.
Looking to draw attention to the pollution problems in our oceans, Adidas and Parley for the Oceans have developed each pair of sneakers out of 11 plastic bottles. The upper section of the shoe is composed of 95% waste plastic captured from the ocean around the Maldives, while the other 5% is made from recycled polyester. Most of the other segments of the sneakers, including the heel, lining, and laces, are also created from recycled material.
“Nobody can save the oceans alone. Each of us can play a role in the solution. It’s in the hands of the creative industries to reinvent faulty materials, products, and business models. The consumer can boost the demand for change,” said Cyrill Gutsch, founder of Parley for the Oceans.
Though the conceptual model was manufactured with 3D printing technology, Adidas has reportedly replaced this process with so-called “new technologies” that can “up-cycle marine plastic debris,” according to the company. The athletic footwear company had to eliminate 3D printing from the process due to the need for mass production. The shoe will be called the UltraBOOST Uncaged Parley, which refers to the design’s collaborative environmental effort, as well as Adidas’ popular UltraBOOST light-weight running shoe line.
Though these recycled shoes will be limited to just 7,000 pairs at first, Adidas plans to use Parley Ocean Plastic to make one million pairs of sneakers in 2017. The ultimate goal of the athletic footwear company is to eliminate virgin plastic from their supply chain. In addition to the upcoming release of their UltraBOOST Uncaged Parley sneakers, Adidas is also using recycled ocean waste to produce limited edition soccer kits for Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, two of the most popular soccer clubs in the entire world.
Although 3D printing technology has been removed from the manufacturing process of these limited edition sneakers, it still played a critical role in their development. As the emerging technology continues to advance, perhaps additive manufacturing will become a tool that is regularly utilized for mass production needs. You can sign up to find more information on the UltraBOOST Uncaged Parley on the Adidas website. Discuss in the Adidas forum at 3DPB.com.[Source: The Verge]