The Nike Vapor Laser Talon might be the first mass produced 3D printed footwear component. The ramifications of which could have significant environmental and ergonomic benefits.
3D printing has the potential to create cost effective regional and even localized manufacture to:-
1. Reduce pollution from shipping and transportation.
2. Provide cost effective custom made footwear parts that are shaped from personal 3D scanned data taken directly from the users foot.
But how will the the Talon and all the future 3D printed soles be recycled? Imagine local recycling facilities supplying local athletic footwear retail outlets with plastic, to 3D print personalized soles in-store while the customer waits.
For more information on the potential of 3D scanned sports footwear check out my post titled “Organic Form – Inspiring New Directions in Design and Manufacturing“.
The first 3D printed athletic footwear sole was introduced in 2006 by Trevor Prior and Greg Lever with their Prior 2 Lever fully custom made Assassin football boot. The Assassin offered a 3D printed sole to the exact shape of the consumer’s foot using Selective Laser Sintering; providing the perfect fit and customized performance.