Just Do It.
The iconic words from Nike are now members of the 3D printing family.
Nike is using 3D printers to improve their product development efforts and streamline production costs.
With their newest football (American) cleats, they aimed to give their athletes the biggest competitive advantage possible. They wanted to make their athletes faster in football’s famous 40-yard-dash.
This was common sense – one of the worlds prominent athletic shoe companies wanted to make its athletes faster. What we learned today is that they wanted to produce the shoes faster too!
Nike recently released their its Vapor Laser Talon football cleat – and it is the first of its kind to incorporate 3D printing. The cleats, that only weigh 5.6 ounces, were designed to help an athlete’s “zero step” – that is the step the athlete takes from a dead stand still.
Nike worked with gold medal sprinter Michael Johnson at his Michael Johnson Performance training facility. Johnson and his team specialize in training athletes for the 40-yard dash. According to MJP Performance Director, Lance Walker, an athlete’s ‘Zero Step’ is a pivotal point that can make or break a 40-yard dash time. In that exact moment when the athlete launches himself from zero to full speed is when propulsion and acceleration speed are established.
“Nike’s new 3D printed plate is contoured to allow football athletes to maintain their drive position longer and more efficiently, helping them accelerate faster through the critical first 10 yards of the 40” said Johnson. “Translated to the game of football, mastering the Zero Step can mean the difference between a defensive lineman sacking the quarterback or getting blocked,” said Walker.
To create a shoe that significantly improves the “zero step,” Nike turned to 3D printing because traditional manufacturing processes wouldn’t permit mass production of the shape necessary for the shoe.
Nike turned to selective laser sintering (known as SLS) technology to meet their exact project needs.
The sole of the boot was made using SLS technology. SLS uses high-powered lasers to mold tiny particles into a 3D shape. Using this technique, Nike was able to rapidly prototype and test the cleat in a fraction of the time it would normally take. Simple edits that used to take months to do can now be completed in only hours.
“SLS technology has revolutionized the way we design cleat plates – even beyond football – and gives Nike the ability to create solutions that were not possible within the constraints of traditional manufacturing processes,” said Director of Nike Footwear Innovation, Shane Kohatsu.
You can 3D print your own custom cleats with our 3D Prinitng Services.
Nike: Just Print It.