Jan.12, 2014

A year ago, Nike introduced its first football cleat built with 3D printing technology. The Vapor Laser Talon was built for a specific 40 yard dash - a metric used by NFL scouts to assess in-game speed. This week Nike unveiled its new Nike Vapor Carbon 2014 Elite Cleat as part of the NFL Nike Silver Speed Collection for Super Bowl XLVIII hosted this year.

The Vapor Carbon 2014 Elite features 3D-printed plates and draws from decades of athlete insights for its revolutionary design. In particular, this one utilizes the "V-Plate" shape from the Nike Vapor Laser Talon, which has now been adapted for quick multi-directional movement. Other features are a full-length carbon fibre plate for enhanced energy-return and a lightweight, one-piece upper to give the cleat a second skin fit.

In order to understand how to make athletes faster, Nike's team of designers, bio-mechanists, coaches, trainers, and athletes work together with Olympic track and field legend Michael Johnson to create a design that focused on what Johnson called the "zero step," the initial push off the ground before the first step is taken.

Through this relationship, Nike was able to push the limits of innovation by creating the first-ever 3D printed plate on the Nike Vapor Laser Talon cleat worn by seven of the top-10 fastest athletes at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine. Producing a cleat through more traditional prototyping methods would have taken three years, however 3D printing technology allows Nike to prototype a fully functional plate and traction system within a fraction of the traditional timeframe and at a fraction of the weight.

Images credit: NIKE

The plate of the cleat is made using Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), a manufacturing technique that uses high-powered lasers to fuse small particles of materials into a three-dimentional shape. The SLS process allows for the engineering and creation of shapes not possible in traditional manufacturing processes. It also provides the ability to make design updates within hours instead of months to truly accelerate the innovation process to never seen speeds.

"SLS technology has revolutionized the way we design cleat plates – even beyond football – and gives Nike the ability to create solutions that were not possible within the constraints of traditional manufacturing processes," said Shane Kohatsu, Director of Nike Footwear Innovation.

The silver Nike Vapor Carbon 2014 Elite Cleat will be available for pre-order on Nike.com January 9, and will be offered in an array of colors this Fall.

Watch the video below telling the story how Olympian Michael Johnson and 3D printing helped to innovate the Vapor Carbon Elite Football Cleat for the 2014 Super Bowl.

Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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Meg Casbourn wrote at 1/27/2014 11:13:25 PM:

The 3D shoe is a really good idea because it may not only help athletes excel in their sport but may also help to prevent injuries in the leg because of the amount of grip the shoe provides to the players. It will help the athletes with their stop and starting, providing less slipping while doing it. I also think it is very cool how they have used certain colours to symbolize certain things.

jaime wrote at 1/27/2014 5:13:54 PM:


Jaime wrote at 1/27/2014 5:09:39 PM:

i think that they are really cool. When are they going to make soccer cleats and is the base just made from the 3D printer??

Kat Smith wrote at 1/27/2014 2:02:59 AM:

Using 3-D printing to create equipment for athletes is a brilliant idea because this allows companies to now create equipment that is the best it could possibly be in a shorter time frame.

Avery Wannamaker wrote at 1/26/2014 9:12:39 PM:

This is a great idea. I think this because i allows athletes to be the best they can be in their sport, due to the fact of how advanced the technology in this shoe is. I dont currently play a sport but i did play hockey last year and this idea could also really alter the way a player skates. I think this because the makers of these cleats could do the same thing to a hockey skate, allowing the player to be way more dynamic in their skating ability. This would be great for hockey now and in the future.

Emmit Soroka wrote at 1/26/2014 4:38:34 AM:

I think the idea really allows athletes (not only football players) to reach their maximum potential because it gives them as much input as they want regarding wight, cleat size, material, etc.

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