Jan 11, 2018 | By Tess

To celebrate and promote its new and innovative Flexweave material, sports brand Reebok invited some of the world’s top designers to create useful objects from it. The end results include a smart glove, a 3D printed training mask, and an active chair.

Within the sportswear industry, it is not simply enough to design and manufacture aesthetically impressive shoes and clothing, as performance is often a top priority. That is why sports brands such as Reebok, Nike, and Adidas are constantly in the process of experimenting and developing new and improved materials.

In some cases, these new materials are meant to be 3D printed and in others, they are created using more traditional processes, such as knitting and weaving.

That is the case with Reebok’s new Flexweave fabric, which integrates a unique figure-eight weaving pattern. This clever construction, explains Reebok, enables an unlimited amount of chenille fibers to be interwoven which makes up the fabric. The result is an ideal material for active applications as it is all at once lightweight, durable, and breathable.

To highlight the versatility of its new material, Reebok reached out to three design studios and invited them to make something out of Flexweave. Modla, a London-based design house, took the opportunity in stride and created a 3D printed training mask.

The mask, appropriately dubbed the “Flexweave mask,” looks a little bit like a futuristic gas mask (Digital Trends even compared it to Bane’s mask from The Dark Knight Rises), but it actually has a sports-related use.

Comprised of a 3D printed mouth and nose cover and a Flexweave face band, the mask is meant to be worn by athletes who are undergoing altitude training. In other words, the adjustable 3D printed component of the mask actually functions like a small vent, allowing a limited amount of air to pass through the mask, helping athletes to simulate a higher altitude environment while they train.

“I do a lot of high intensity training so I’m interested in how such equipment works, functions and can help improve performance,” commented Modla co-founder Jon Fidler. “But we also saw the potential in the aesthetic of the Flexweave material, to create something which would blend with the mask and align with the contours of the wearer’s face.”

“As it happens, the Flexweave material provided even more benefit than just the aesthetic and was amazing to work with. It’s strong and durable, so perfect for a product that will get a lot of wear and tear; while also incredibly lightweight, making it breathable on the face for athletes when training,” he added.

The 3D printed mask component was manufactured using an Ultimaker 3D printer, while the Flexweave bands were laser cut.

The two other design studios, NYC-based Joe Doucet x Partners and Rotterdam-based Odd Matter, used Flexweave to create a smart glove and an active chair, respectively.

The smart glove was designed for runners and integrates GPS technology and an LED light strip. The idea is that the wearer could be alerted by the LED light when they are supposed to make a turn or change direction on their course.

Odd Matter, for its part, used Reebok’s Flexweave material to create what it calls an “active chair,” which is designed to engage the sitter’s core muscles. The chair is build from EVA foam and Flexweave, making it extremely lightweight and easily portable.

“Flexweave is going to a major part of the Reebok DNA moving forward,” stated James Woolard, Reebok Running’s global marketing director. “With this creative and imaginative project, we’ve achieved exactly what we set out to do; demonstrate through collaborations in other fields what Flexweave can truly achieve when put to the ultimate test.”



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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