Mar 26, 2018 | By Benedict

Since sportswear brand Reebok unveiled its innovative Liquid Factory technology in 2016, capable of additively manufacturing shoes, we’ve been eager to see the next step in the company’s 3D printed sneaker saga.

Well wait no longer, because Reebok has debuted its newest 3D printed sneaker: the Liquid Floatride Run. The new shoe model integrates Reebok’s Liquid Factory 3D printing technology to put a new and technological spin on its popular Floatride Run sneaker model.

But what has Reebok’s 3D printing tech brought to the new shoe besides the novelty of the tech? According to Reebok, its Liquid Factory process enabled it to reduce the shoe’s weight by 20 percent, and offers two unique features: liquid lace and liquid grip.

Reebok’s liquid lace feature replaces traditional string laces by 3D printing stretchable “laces” directly onto the shoe. The flexible 3D printed laces are reportedly designed to integrate pressure points on certain parts of the shoe so that the wearer can slip them on easily without sacrificing the stability and support of the sneaker.

The second new feature, liquid grip, is found on the sole of the Liquid Floatride Run and is essentially 3D printed lines along the bottom of the sole that are designed to offer better grip and traction. These 3D printed liquid grip stripes are also what helped Reebok to significantly reduce the weight of the sneaker.

The shoe also leverages Reebok’s Flexweave technology for its upper construction. The technology’s signature figure-eight weaving technique purportedly offers better breathability, durability, and support than other upper constructions. (See how Flexweave fabric and 3D printing were used to produce an innovative training mask.)

Unlike its competitors Nike and Adidas, however, Reebok is not leveraging additive manufacturing (at least not yet) to produce midsoles for its new sneaker. Rather, its new Liquid Floatride Run model is equipped with its trusted and proprietary Floatride cushioning midsole, which was recognized by Runner’s World as 2017’s “Best Debut.”

“Last year we launched the Liquid Factory concept with the Liquid Speed shoe,” commented Bill McInnis, the head of Reebok Future and a former NASA engineer. “It was definitely a striking silhouette, as we aimed to showcase the way that the 3D drawing process could change the way shoes are made. What we’re excited to highlight with Liquid Floatride is how we can apply the Liquid Factory process to any of our existing products, to make great shoes even better.”

“The next generation of Liquid Factory products will be even more innovative, as we can create the entire shoe using the Liquid Factory process—outsole, cushioning, and upper fit systems—the whole shoe,” McInnis added. “We are looking forward to bringing many more products to market that incorporate the ground-breaking Liquid Factory process.”

The Liquid Factory process itself uses a combination of software and robotic technology to “draw shoes in three dimensions.” More specifically, a robotic system “draws” components of the shoe in 3D using a proprietary high-energy liquid material (developed by BASF). The unique process has enabled Reebok to manufacture footwear without the need for traditional molds.

Reebok’s new Liquid Floatride Run sneakers can be ordered via its online store for $180.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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