Peak Sports Debuts Latest 3D Printed Shoes
Peak Sports Products has introduced what it claims are the first 3D-printed volleyball shoes. The products were unveiled at this year’s China Volleyball League all-star game.
In designing the shoes, the sportswear and sports equipment manufacturer studied the specific motions used by volleyball players. Through use of selective laser sintering (SLS) technology and a more lightweight, flexible powder printed on the bottom of the shoe, China-based Peak Sports was able to create what it describes as “superior cushioning performance.”
The 3D printed volleyball shoe follows Peak’s introduction of two other 3D footwear products that it also claims were first of their kind: Future I, a running shoe (in May 2017), and DH III 3D Edition, a basketball shoe promoted by NBA star Dwight Howard (August 2017).
“Innovation is the first productive force, and it is also the basis for Peak to go international,” noted chief executive officer Xu Zhihua.
According to Coresight Research, it generally takes nine to 18 months to produce footwear from conception to store shelf. 3D printing technology can shorten that time frame to three to six months. In the long term, 3D printing capabilities will allow companies to produce merchandise that otherwise would have been impractical to make, said Coresight.
Peak is not the only sportswear maker investing in 3D technology. Nike, New Balance and Under Armour have all introduced limited editions of 3D printed footwear, while footwear chain DSW launched a pop-up store showcasing products from custom 3D printed footwear supplier Feetz.
In 2015, Amazon purchased Shoefitr, a 3D startup specializing in shoe fitting. Adidas has also been developing 3D-printing facilities, called “Speedfactories,” in Germany and Atlanta to produce premium footwear on demand, said Coresight.