Nike’s first 3D printed textile upper, FlyPrint, is promising greater breathability and less weight.
The shoe upper is a TPU filament melted and applied in layers that can be customized for specific regions and individual athletes, according to a recent Engadget article.
Compared to previous textiles, Nike has shaved off 0.38 ounces, a significant figure among runners. The company has also aims to make FlyPrint shoes more resistant to water absorption, posing less of an energy drain during a run. The fused nature of 3D printing may also eliminate the frictional resistance associated with conventional fabric.
Distance runner Eliud Kipchoge will used a pair of Elite FlyPrints in the London Marathon, April 22. A few consumers could buy shoes from a “limited run” using the Nike app on that marathon weekend.