Chinese sportswear brand PEAK Sports Products introduced a new model of fully 3D printed sneakers – upper, midsole and outsole – in the domestic Chinese market. As leading Chinese 3D printing media Nanjixiong reports, the first 600 pairs of the new FUTURE FUSION PEAK3D sneakers were briefly available on the company’s online store, on July 5th, for 1,299 Yuan (about $190) and sold out in a matter of seconds.
PEAK sports is kind of a strange company. It has a global presence and it is growing rapidly however it is not exactly forthcoming with communication and marketing activities. The company did present pairs of partially 3D printed sneakers in the past for both volleyball and basketball. Even in China, Nanjixiong (which in Chinese means Antartic Bear) had to piece the news back together and verify it through reports from various WeChat users.
From the reconstruction, it emerged that the sole of the show is produced using SLS and a TPU material, leveraging a new, mostly hollow structure. The SLS technology was provided by Chinese 3D printer manufacturer Shining 3D. The upper – and this is the big news – is 3D printed by thermoplastic filament extrusion, also using a TPU material, for transparent texture mesh effect. Three different color schemes were presented.
We agree with Nanjixiong’s assessment that “the whole shoe looks technically astounding and stunning.”
In all 3D printed sports shoes presented so far, including the highly popular and successful adidas FUTURECRAFT and ALPHAEDGE 4D generally, only the midsole section is 3D printed. These have already sold several thousand pairs using Carbon’s DLS technology – a type of layerless photopolymerization – as a production method. US startups Voxel8 is working on a drop on demand technology to also automate and 3D print upper sections.
However, Voxel8’s method is also based on printing customizations on cutting fabrics, a more automated evolution of current shoe-making methods. According to netizens, PEAK’s new 3D printed upper is made leveraging a melt-extruded filament 3D printing technology. The TPU wire is extruded through a heated nozzle and stacked in layers. Nanjixiong also asks the question that is on everyone’s mind in the shoe industry: does this mean that extrusion 3D printing is now able to accommodate the intensive and high-productivity needs of the shoe industry? And much is manual assembly shortened by 3D printing the entire shoe? Clearly, this is the direction that the sports footwear industry is taking, so we will soon see.