Sportswear manufacturer Asics has dropped its first piece of 3D printed footwear, the new ACTIBREEZE™ 3D SANDAL.
Dubbed the ‘world’s coolest super sandals’, the slides also mark the firm’s debut into the After Performance space, as they’re designed to aid recovering athletes after an intense period of exercise.
They’re defined by their 3D printing-enabled open lattice structure that allows for a high level of airflow for excellent cooling and breathability. According to Asics’ own data, the design is able to keep the temperature and humidity levels of the wearer’s feet lower than any other recovery sandals currently available.
AJ Andrassy, General Manager of Product Management, Performance Running Footwear at Asics, said, “We’ve had the super shoe and the super spike. Now it’s time for the super sandal. The ACTIBREEZE™ 3D SANDAL represents our belief that innovation in sports footwear shouldn’t be limited to what the athlete wears when competing or training. Through our new After Performance commitment, we want to continue exploring new ways we can further optimize post-race recovery and relaxation of both body and mind for our athletes.”
The market for 3D printed footwear
The additively manufactured footwear sector is a new one, but it’s there and it’s growing. Leveraging 3D printing for shoes brings with it a whole host of benefits, both in terms of cost and performance. As well as making prototyping fast and flexible, 3D printing can enable complex lattice-like structures that would otherwise be impossible to manufacture, paving the way for custom lightweight fits built for springiness and speed.
One of the most recent launches came from fashion designer Heron Preston and footwear 3D printing start-up Zellerfeld, who released a new version of their co-designed 3D printed HERON01 sneaker this month. Named Version 0.81, the sneaker now sports an improved collar shape and roomier toe box.
Elsewhere, German designer and architect Stephan Henrich recently took the abstract route and printed a unique shoe based on the feet of mythical creatures. Designed specifically for printing on a Sintratec SLS S2 system, the claw-like shoe will enable wearers to walk in the footsteps of beings such as Bigfoot.
The ACTIBREEZE™ 3D SANDAL
In the Asics offices, there’s no such thing as over-engineering. The latest challenger on the 3D printed footwear scene features a number of special design considerations that apparently make it the top of its class.
The ACTIBREEZE 3D SANDAL comes equipped with an extra wide base to provide both structural stability and cushioning for comfort. Additionally, the parametrically designed geometric structure is purpose-built for maximum foot protection, all while minimizing weight by way of material used. It can also morph easily under load to conform to the wearer’s foot but doesn’t sacrifice support. Asics believes that all of these features synergize to provide an optimal recovery experience.
Genki Hatano, a Lead Researcher at ASICS Institute of Sport Science (ISS), said, “This sandal is quite unlike anything we’ve created before. The successful implementation of this method also moves us closer to an exciting future where a shoe can freely morph its form to exactly fit the profiles of each individual athlete.”
ACTIBREEZE 3D SANDAL made its debut at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 this month, where it was worn by Olympic athletes Valarie Allman, Eiki Takahashi, and Mohamed Katir. The slides are available now for a retail price of $80.
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Featured image shows the ASICS ACTIBREEZE 3D SANDAL. Photo via ASICS.