Under Armour later this week is introducing the latest 3D-printed shoe in its ArchiTech line, the Futurist, which will be available for $300.
The limited-edition Futurist will debut Thursday evening. Like other 3D printed shoe models it features a dynamic lattice network midsole for cushioning, but the Futurist also has a compression lace system with an external sleeve and zipper, and a UA SpeedForm upper for a secure fit, Engadget reports.
The new shoe release comes a little more than a year after Under Armour joined other athletic shoe makers in offering a line of shoes leveraging 3D printing capabilities for manufacturing.
It will be interesting to see where Under Armour goes with its 3D-printed shoe program under new chief innovation officer Clay Dean, the former GM exec and self-described "sneakerhead." It seems like an effort that someone who used to work on concept cars might want to accelerate. Then again, Dean might have his own list of pet innovation projects he wants to get going on, and may not give this one any special attention.
Several major athletic shoe makers have been increasingly busy in their use of 3D printing technology in their manufacturing. Adidas in particular has been innovative, matching the technology to ecological interests by making 3D-printed shoes from recycled ocean waste. Under Armour came a little later to this party, but has made its own mark with unique shoe styles.
The high-tech manufacturing process is a good fit for shoe makers because, well, they are especially concerned with good fits. 3D printing improves the ability to produce better fitting, more comfortable shoes, which can be turned into messaging by shoe brands about how concerned they are in helping their customers get customized, personalized fits.
Still, none of big brands that have started using 3D printing are talking about using such techniques for mass production, and none of them has talked about taking an already successful shoe model and remaking it as a 3D-printed shoe. That means 3D-printed shoes are still more of a curiosity for the general public, and perhaps a hot find for the particularly nerdy sneaker collector who wants anything described as a limited edition.