I just love my Zensahs. Wore my brand new yellow socks at the Bandera 100k on Saturday, and after 62 miles of running through sharp cacti and jagged rocks, I felt great. Oh my! I’ve worn Zensahs on marathons, 50k’s and 50 milers, and I had no doubt that they’d do well. They exceeded every expectation. Very supportive, adaptable to temperature (39 at the start, but mid 70’s by midday.) And those sotol cactus spines? Not one got through. I need about five more pairs of these! Love.” -Jim runs ultras of Newmarket, New Hampshire, USA

If that sounds like you and you’re reading this site, then you’ll be excited to know that the maker of your favorite seamless compression socks is getting into 3D printing.

Founded by marathon runner Ze’ev Feig in Miami, Zensah is hoping to use 3D printing technology to enhance their line of athletic compression apparel. In the long term, they hope to be able to 3D print some of their apparel items, which feature things like a high thread count to increase breathability and silver threading to fight against stink-causing bacteria. Details have yet to emerge about the specifics of their long-term strategy, but as they perform that 3D printing research, the company will also be developing some short-term products that rely on the technology.

Zensah 3D Printer Demonstration Outdoor Retailer

The company’s CEO explains, “Our focus is on product, not just experimentation. We see applications for 3D printing which will combine textiles with wearable technology. When we came onto the scene, seamless was a novelty in sportswear. Today competition is stiffer, so we keep on innovating and are looking for new ways to create seamless product.” Though the company has yet to release any 3D-printed wearable technology or compression attire, they’ve already begun marketing with 3D printing. The campaign involves the 3D printing of “sneaker swag” – marketing speak for “We’re a hip, young company; buy our stuff!” – which can be used to customize your shoelaces to commemorate athletic achievements like winning a race or running away from your problems. Made via stereolithography, the 3D-printed charms can be threaded onto your shoes as seen in the picture below.

Zensah 3D printed Sneaker Swag

Kind of a gimmicky campaign, but I’ll be excited when they release their 3D printing wearables or use the OpenKnit knitting fabricator to make me some compression socks for my horrible varicose veins.

Source: Innovation In Textiles