ASICS and LuxCreo Reimagine Footwear with New 3D Printed Sandal


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Building on their collaborative journey, renowned sports footwear brand ASICS and 3D printing solutions innovator LuxCreo have released the Actibreeze Hybrid Sandal, available at a retail price of $80. Designed with recuperating runners in mind, this proprietary 3D printed recovery sandal reflects the latest in footwear design. The unveiling of this product adds another milestone to their growing collaborative portfolio. Engineered for runners in their recuperative stages, this latest unveil marks the third product to emerge from this dynamic partnership, further solidifying the brands’ shared mission to innovate in the realm of footwear comfort.

According to ASICS and LuxCreo, the Actibreeze Hybrid Sandal represents years of dedication and is the culmination of their shared vision. Past collaborations between the two giants have consistently met with overwhelming success. Notably, their 3D printed flip-flops launched in 2021 and the Actibreeze Hybrid Sandal in 2022 were so well-received they often sold out within mere minutes of their release.

Hybrid sandals on LuxCreo 3D printer in post-printing. Image courtesy of LuxCreo.

One of the standout features of the latest sandal is its 3D printed elastic footbed. Designed with an extra-thick lattice structure, it promises unique breathability and optimal comfort for wearers. But the innovation doesn’t stop at design. When it comes to material performance, the sandal also boasts LuxCreo’s elastomer. This part is really strong and bouncy. It can sustain a pressure equivalent to the weight of four average individuals, enduring this force a million times.

Despite such extensive stress, its appearance and function remain largely unchanged. Outside of its evident design, the sandal’s development is deeply rooted in scientific research. The renowned ASICS Institute of Sport Science backed the sandal’s creation, having scanned over a million feet and conducted more than 100,000 biomechanical experiments over three decades.

Michael Strohecker, Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) at LuxCreo, expressed his enthusiasm about the collaboration: “Our collaboration with ASICS is a testament to the forward-thinking ethos that drives our companies. By bringing a consumer hybrid 3D printed footwear product to market, we are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and forging a partnership that thrives on innovation and excellence. Together, we are pushing possibilities in footwear.”

LuxCreo relied on its Smart Factory Production Service, equipped with 200 printers globally, to ensure a seamless production process. Chris Ekman, Senior Manager of Global Product Line Footwear at ASICS, praised LuxCreo’s innovative approach and exceptional capabilities, describing them as the perfect partner for the venture.

“Identifying the perfect collaborator for this venture was a challenging task. We sought a partner who embraced an innovative approach to 3D printed production and possessed superior hardware and material capabilities. We needed a team that could scale up production, had a wealth of experience, and was brimming with talent. LuxCreo has proven to be that partner,” said Ekman.

LuxCreo footwear MFG in smart factory. Image courtesy of LuxCreo.

Footwear evolution

The evolution of footwear has taken a turn after several renowned sports brands ventured into 3D printed shoes. Whether as limited-edition concepts or mainstream releases, these brands decided to employ 3D printing technology to usher in a new era of customization, waste reduction, and optimized manufacturing. Adidas emerged as a frontrunner in this domain with the launch of its Futurecraft 4D series, born out of a collaboration with Carbon. Adidas garnered significant attention and released various iterations by employing a distinct liquid resin printing technique.

Adidas was not alone. Competitor New Balance, partnering with 3D Systems, unveiled the Zante Generate with a 3D printed midsole. At the same time, Nike capitalized on 3D printing primarily for prototyping, revealing 3D printed cleat plates created especially for NFL athletes. Under Armour and Reebok were also part of the move. While Under Armour introduced the UA Architech with a 3D printed midsole, Reebok innovated with the Liquid Factory, a refined method using a specialized liquid material to craft shoe parts in a 3D.

Evaluating commercial success, the journey of 3D printed shoes is a bit complex. Benefits like a bespoke design and potential reductions in production timelines often clash with the challenges of higher costs. Fxor example, 3D printing’s potential for customization means athletes could have shoes tailored specifically for them. However, the cost of 3D printing remains higher for large production runs than traditional methods. There are also concerns about material limitations and the speed of production for bulk items.

There is still optimism as the technology matures, costs decline, and a broader commercial acceptance could be around the corner. From a branding perspective, these launches have been instrumental in positioning these brands as pioneers of innovation, exploring this tech for footwear and other sports equipment.

For now, the Actibreeze Hybrid Sandal is ready to be experienced. It is available globally through ASICS retail outlets, online stores, and specialized running outlets.

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