Adidas is creating robot-woven sneakers with 3D-printed soles

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Adidas has developed a technique of merging robot-woven sneakers with 3D-printed soles to create automated custom footwear in a project they’re calling STRUNG.

This is why we developed STRUNG, an industry-first textile and creation process that allows us to input athlete data into the precision placement of each thread in any direction we choose. We can build and test different structures in the software before sending our chosen design to the STRUNG robot, which places each thread into a single composite with specific performance zones and properties. The result is a lightweight upper that’s precisely fitted for support, flex, and breathability–all within one piece of material.

The STRUNG upper provides a seamless, lightweight cocoon around the foot, achieved with minimal excess material. Precision fit and support locks the heel to help prevent heel slip using stronger red threads in the heel, midfoot, and toe-box. Meanwhile, the forefoot is flexible, with softer yellow threads. The midsole is our most radical ADIDAS 4D lattice design to date–featuring a new shape that caters to forefoot strikers. The heel has been minimized to remove weight, and the rubber outsole is specifically shaped to help support grip on these fast runs.

The robot can place 2,000 threads from up to 10 different sneaker yarns in one upper section of the shoe. It sounds great, but so far the resulting shoes do not look durable at all. It seems like you might get better results by just gluing a sole onto a sock. It wouldn’t look nearly as cool, but it probably also wouldn’t fall apart after a walk down the block.

Keep going for some more shots as well as the promo video.

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