NEW BALANCE IMPULSE - THE 3D PRINTED SNEAKERS
Like with any piece of innovation, designers race each other to create the next big thing using the new technology, and you better believe it: the race to use 3D printing in the footwear industry has already begun!
In 2013, New Balance joined the 3D printing game with customized spike plates crafted specifically for their elite runners. In 2016, New Balance unveiled further 3D-printed releases that were intended for the public:
The Zante Generate & The MS066
In the 3D printing world, they often say: complexity is for free. So, the idea was to explore the power of parametric designing to create a midsole that is very organic and so complex. I started experimenting with different cell structures to build various lattices. After intensive research, the midsole slowly built up to consist out of 2 different systems:
The outer crust was crafted to achieve an optimal balance of flexibility, strength, and durability. Whereas, the inner structure is engineered to vary densities of hundreds of small, open cells across the sole to provide cushioning where it is needed. It was easily achieved by changing the number of cells spread and the number of connections between them. With this practice, it is possible to create customized shoes based on an individual’s footprint – including their foot shape, performance needs and personal preferences.
The midsole can then be 3D-printed by converting elastomeric powder material into solid cross-sections using Selective Laser Sintering.
After analyzing a lot of New Balance sneakers, common characteristics found their way through most of the designs. Following their unique design language, I crafted the upper to carry over the spirit of New Balance. The sneaker boasts a garment-knit upper, stable leather heel counter, and a supportive midfoot layer. Details include a high quality leather logo and a tongue branding.