Nike introduced Flyprint, a 3D-printed textile upper for sneaker on April 20, 2018. The new range of shoes is estimated to bring about a new standard in performance of running shoes
These Flyprint uppers are produced by way of Solid Deposit Modeling (SDM). Nike explains that it is a process in which TPU filament is unwound from a coil, melted, and laid down in layers. The company is aims to create key changes to the shoe and the textile as determined by athlete data by using 3D printing the uppers. The exact textile geometry of the upper is actually determined by its wearer, allowing for what Nike explains as proprietary modification of the shoe.
Nike Flyprint will be in action for the first time in the form of the Nike Zoom Vaporfly Elite Flyprint, which is designed and manufactured specifically for Eliud Kipchoge, frequently described as “the greatest marathoner of the modern era,” and the 2016 Olympic marathon gold medalist. He will be sporting the new shoes during his next 26.2-mile race on April 22, 2018 in London. The Nike Zoom Vaporfly Elite was created for the athlete after he provided feedback about how the 2017 Berlin Marathon, plagued by heavy rain and 99% humidity, created rather unfortunate conditions. Nike determined how best to 3D print an upper that would not be bogged down by the wet and water. Nike is selling a limited run of these shoes in London via the Nike App during the London Marathon weekend.
3D printed shoe can be rapidly customized and produced for specific sports or specific athletes. According to the company, it can prototype a shoe 16 times faster than in any previous manufacturing method. Furthermore, brand notes that the Flyknit provides high dynamism and it is lighter and more breathable than other materials. It reduces the frictional resistance of inherent to fabrics due to fusion of 3D-printed upper.