Can 3D Printed Sneakers Help Foot Ailments? [Video]

Will you be able to walk into a shoe store one day and walk with a new pair of shoes that are built specifically for your foot? According to Adidas, yes, and that day is just about here. Adidas recently unveiled the Futurecraft 3D, a sneaker that has a 3D printed midsole to fit every contour of your foot for a precise fitting sneaker.

In order to get the proper measurements needed to print a custom 3D midsole, you will have to run on a specially designed treadmill. The treadmill is equipped with sensors that will map the contours of your feet and find out which part of your foot has the most pressure exerted on it. The treadmill will send the information that it collects to a computer which creates a design file that a 3D printer uses to print out the midsole and you're done. You now will have a custom made pair of sneakers that are designed to match the "exact contours and pressure points" of your feet.

Adidas posted a YouTube video which shows the 3D process used to create the sneakers.

The 3D printed sneakers that Adidas is making are specifically focused on runners. That does not mean that only runners will be able to benefit from this revolutionary sneaker making process. Eric Liedtke, an executive board member at Adidas, states that the Futurecraft 3D can be custom made for any athlete.

"Futurecraft 3D is a prototype and a statement of intent. We have used a one-of-its-kind combination of process and material in an entirely new way. Our 3D-printed midsole not only allows us to make a great running shoe, but also to use performance data to drive truly bespoke experiences, meeting the needs of any athlete."
Adidas is not the only company in the 3D printed footwear business. Last year, Nike introduced their Vapor Ultimate football cleat to the world. The Vapor Ultimate football cleat is part of Nike's Nike Flyknit line. According to Nike, the Nike Flyknit makes it feel like you have a "second skin" surrounding your foot. Nike uses a process called 3D knitting, which creates clothing and shoes without any seams in them.

What are the health benefits to custom fitting footwear?

One of the most common causes for foot problems stem from shoes and sneakers that do not fit the person properly. The following list shows some of the foot problems people have had to deal with due to footwear not fitting them in the right way.

  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Numbness or nerve pain
  • Bunions
Everybody's feet are slightly different than everyone else. Because it is virtually impossible to make footwear to accommodate every foot design in the world, shoes and sneakers do not fit everyone exactly the way they need to. This is the reason why many different types of inserts are made for shoes to help a person get a better fit from their shoes. Even these are not perfect.

Another common problem that people will suffer from due to ill-fitting footwear is back pain. If a person is having problems with their feet they will walk in a way that eases foot pain but causes problems with their spine. Since footwear is a common cause of foot pain, it is also a common cause of back pain. When shoes or sneakers are found that fit the person's foot better than the previous pair, some types of back pain will go away.

The future of footwear and clothing is going to be changed forever once 3D printing becomes cheaper and mainstream. Soon, we will be able to have everything we wear be custom made for our individual bodies.

[Image Via Adidas YouTube Channel]