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By Dyuthi Pamulaparthi, Class 6, Vibgyor High, Marathahalli , Bangalore

Though 3D printing technology has been available for over two decades, it has not gone mainstream as hoped because of the high cost and slow print speed. But that may change soon, thanks to German sportswear manufacturer Adidas. On December 15, 2016, the company revealed Adidas 3D Runners, stylish sports sneakers featuring a 3D printed midsole that provides athletes with the extra cushioning needed for optimal performance.

Unlike traditional midsoles, these are not a foam, but web-like structures with varied density to take into account the impact areas of the foot. This means that the mesh is thicker in the shoe’s front and posterior, both of which hit the ground hard when the athlete runs. A 3D-printed heel, incorporated into the midsole, eliminates the need for traditional gluing or stitching.

The shoe upper, made of Primeknit, a mechanically knitted yarn, allows for increased flexibility, stability, and protection in the impact areas. The finished product is a shoe that feels really good. The shoes are springy but firm at the same time – which is exactly what Adidas is trying to accomplish.

And since they’re 3D printed all it would take is a slight tweak of a design file to make a pair more springy or stable. While the first step is just to get to mass-production, Adidas eventually sees a future where everyone will be able to have their own 3D-printed shoe, with the midsole totally customized to their individual needs.

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Dyuthi Pamulaparthi       Vibgyor High, Marathahalli      
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