Last year, Nike got ahead of the rest of the footwear world as the first company to release a shoe with 3D-printed components. The production of the Vapor Laser Talon did not simply use 3D printing for prototyping purposes, but incorporated a 3D printed plate into the final product. This year, the company is making headlines again with their updated football cleat, the Vapor Carbon Elite, which will make its debut at Super Bowl 48.
With the Vapor Laser Talon, the design team at Nike worked with Olympic sprinter Michael Johnson and his MJP NFL training center to design a shoe optimized for use in the straight line of a 40-yard dash. The Laser Talon’s successor, also made with help from MJP, is meant to expand the shoe’s design for use by an entire football team. The Carbon Elite, therefore, was needed to increase the speed and traction for linebackers, running backs and quarter backs, regardless of their direction of movement. Like the Laser Talon, the design of the Carbon Elite was focused on the “zero step” of a player, the moment at which a player begins moving. The goal was to reduce the slippage that may occur during the zero step as much as possible.
The head of innovation at Nike, Shane Kohatsu, explained how the entire design process was sped up dramatically with the 3D printing. Something like this would’ve normally taken Nike two to three years at least. They accomplished this in six months.”
Lets see how Nike accomplished this new design in this video.