Adidas Crafts Shoes from Light and Oxygen

Adidas new FutureCraft 4D running shoes are at the forefront of innovative design and manufacturing

Adidas is about to launch a pair of running shoes featuring innovative midsoles crafted with light and oxygen and liquid resins.

Adidas’ innovative FutureCraft 4D shoes—which launch on Jan. 18 in New York City with a $300 price tag—come from the brand’s journey to define the future of craftsmanship through exploring new technology, design and collaboration, the company said in a release. 

The shoe is built from an innovative 3D printing process that allows the midsole to be created dynamically so that each section can be “tuned” for what could become a near-custom experience for a runner. Designed with specific athlete running data collected from force and motion sensors and crafted with Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis technology—an innovative printing process that uses digital light projection, oxygen-permeable optics and programmable liquid resins to generate high performance, durable polymeric products. 

The end result is a single-piece midsole component that features precisely engineered zones to address different aspects of the running gait cycle, including cushioning, comfort, stability and propulsion. The midsole includes more than 20,000 “struts” that can be individually tuned to provide more control on energy return required for a specific function or a specific runner’s size, impact and gait.

The struts make up three key performance zones of the midsole:

Heel Zone: Lattice geometry designed to optimize cushioning and absorb first heel impact.

Transition Zone: Seamless bridge design provides smoother heel to toe transition, with sidewalls supporting and guiding runner through gait cycle. 

Forefoot Zone: Structure designed to propel runner forward.

In addition, the midsole’s unique open structure allows for enhanced breathability underfoot. A knit upper adds seamless comfort through a sock-like fit and engineered ventilation zones, while Continental outsoles provide optimal grip.

Watch this video for more about the FutureCraft 4D shoes:

“FutureCraft 4D demonstrates the potential of Digital Light Synthesis in unlocking a new era in sport performance design,” said Ben Herath, vice president of design for adidas running division. “One driven by athlete data and incomparable precision to provide the best for the athletes, enabling them to make a difference in their run. This innovation changes how we design and free ourselves from limitations of the past. The possibilities of what we can now create with this technology to push the boundaries of performance is truly endless.”

First unveiled in April 2017 as a limited-edition proof of concept shoe, FutureCraft 4D will launch to the public on Jan. 18 in the New York City area, through Consortium retailers KITH, Packer and SNS. 

Brian Metzler
Brian Metzler is the Content Director of MotivRunning.com. He was the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine, a senior editor for Running Times and the editor in chief of Competitor. He's wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of running shoes, raced every distance from 50 meters to 100 miles, has finished three Ironman triathlons and enjoys the quirky sport of pack burro racing.