In April, SmartTech Analysis claimed that the use of additive manufacturing (AM) and revenues connected to 3D printed footwear products are projected to generate more than $6.5 billion (USD) in yearly global revenues by 2029, growing at a 19.5% CAGR. The report forecasts that by 2023 more than $1 billion (USD) will be generated by 3D printed footwear parts alone, including additively manufactured insoles, midsoles and uppers.
Taking advantage of such opportunities is New Balance, a developer of athletic footwear. Helping the company make use of 3D printing technology is Formlabs.
New Balance launched a platform it calls TripleCell, and will use this platform to launch the 990 Sport athletic shoe, retailing for $185. Come September, the company plans to launch the FuelCell Echo shoe, for $175. The Formlabs 3D printing technology will help the company develop better cushioning performance in these shoes.
Working together since 2017, the two companies developed a proprietary photopolymer resin called Rebound Resin. Rebound Resin creates springy, resilient lattice structures with the durability, reliability, and longevity expected from an injection molded thermoplastic. The goal is to deliver better performing, custom athletic footwear faster.
Thanks to 3D printing, New Balance can manufacture shoes locally, and eliminate dependence on molds. “3D printing enables us to directly print for both prototyping and production,” noted Dávid Lakatos, Chief Product Officer of Formlabs. “We’re moving towards a world where design cycles are closing in on the whim of the consumer and it’s exciting to be on the frontlines of this with New Balance.”
New Balance chose the 990 Sport to launch the TripleCell platform to reimagine a classic and venerable silhouette. TripleCell technology in the heel seamlessly delivers the cushioning experience found in the classic style but is 10% lighter than the 990v5 and maintains the Made in the USA designation. The New Balance Innovation Design Studiodropped TripleCell into the forefoot of the FuelCell Echo based on the growing focus of forefoot technology and the learnings taken from the recent launch of the FuelCell platform.
The 990 Sport with TripleCell is Made in the USA at the New Balance Lawrence factory and the FuelCell Echo with TripleCell is assembled in the USA.
The 990 Sport and FuelCell Echo featuring Triple Cell will be available here and select global retailers.