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New Balance 3D prints the perfect shoe for athletes

Posting in Design

For most people, a shoe is a shoe. If it looks good and feels good, it's a winner. But, for athletes, small design choices can be the difference between first and second place, especially in a sport like track where the difference can be measured in hundredths of a second. Fortunately, customization is what 3D printing does best.

Athletic shoe company New Balance is turning to 3D printing technology to build the ultimate custom shoe for Team New Balance, the company-sponsored track team. Using 3D printing, New Balance can customize the shoe's spike plate. To do that, New Balance has an athlete run as if the athlete were running a race. It then collects biomechanical data using a force plate, in-shoe sensors, and a motion capture system. That data is then analyzed by advanced algorithms to create the perfect design for individual athletes which can then be printed.

"With 3D printing we are able to pursue performance customization at a new level to help our elite NB athletes and eventually all athletes. We believe this is the future of performance footwear and we are excited to bring this to consumers," said New Balance President and CEO Robert DeMartini.

New Balance isn't the only shoe company turning to 3D printing. Nike recently released the first ever football cleat to incorporate 3D printing.

Photo: New Balance

— By on March 21, 2013, 9:00 PM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure