Tech Bit takes a quick look at new technology and gear—and the stories that go with them—in the sporting world.
Product: 3D-printed midsoles on running shoes
Brand: New Balance
Description: While New Balance has used 3D printing to perfect high-end track spikes since 2013 (and since added soccer and baseball cleats), the Boston-based company plans to bring 3D printing to consumers looking for running shoes by April. The effort will kick off in Boston before expanding globally, the company says. The process includes using underfoot pressure data to define the selective laser sintering method, a process that converts new powder materials into solid cross-sections, layer by layer, using a laser. New Balance will use DuraForm Flex TPU powder, a material that the company says offers “an optimal balance of flexibility, strength, weight and durability.” It is that elasticity, though, that allows 3D printing to move beyond cleat plates and into running shoes.
Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, sneakers and technology for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.