Nike’s mission statement is to ‘bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. If you have a body, you are an athlete.’ 3D printing is at the very forefront of innovation. The term represents a set of technologies that have inspired attention the world over. Gaining a world’s first with this breakthrough technology set is good publicity, but also a genuine opportunity to example how a company’s research and development prowess fulfils new needs of an audience. Now, Nike brings us ‘the world’s first 3D printed performance sports bag’ which will first be seen at this year’s football World Cup in Brazil.
Designed for football’s most renown players, only three bags have been 3D printed, and they are to be carried by Neymar Jr., Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo this summer in Brazil. Each Nike Football “Rebento” (that’s its name!) duffle bag features custom gold hardware with the player’s name.
Handcraftedleather is used for the bag’s upper and straps, which fit seamlessly into the 3D printed base. There is no use of glue or adhesive. The showcase duffle bags highlight the unprecedented levels of customisation and new possibilities for individuality that 3D printed hardware allows. Taking cues from the new Nike Flyknit pattern of the Magista and Mercurial shin guards that also heavily feature 3D printing techniques,laser-sintered nylon creates an intertwined weave on the bag’s 3D printed base. The use of 3D printing also enhances the portablity of the bag with a lightweight but durable structure.
Martin Lotti, Creative Director for Nike Football commented: “We wanted to create something that was truly special for the game’s greatest players. We did this by utilising one of the most cutting-edge technologies – 3D printing – to make a bag that is unlike anything else.”
Lotti commented on the use of 3D printing in the production of the Mercurial FlyLite Guard too: “Players such as Neymar recognise the need for a guard and want that protection, but they tell us they want it without sacrifice… We found that the more material you took away, the better the guard protected the shin. Reducing material also allowed for unprecedented flexibility, creating a fit that was unlike anything players had experienced… With 3D printing, we were able to quickly innovate, experiment and test hundreds of patterns and prototypes for the engineered shock system.”
The Mercurial FlyLite Guard replaces traditional foam backing with a new shock system that provides a more consistent impact absorption than foam. The webbed backing utilises pips, which come into contact with the outer shell to help absorb and disperse impact stresses to protect the shin. Nike says that The FlyLite Guard provides the most anatomical fit for a guard to date by increasing flexibility to allow for a more customised fit. The pips cover a larger surface area along the shin bone to help distribute force over a greater area and absorb impact. The honeycomb structure also delivers airflow and breathability, while the thin profile offers a lightweight relative to the strength of the guard. The Mercurial FlyLite Guard will be available at nike.com at the beginning of July.