With the Olympic games right around the corner, maybe athletes from around the world should check some getting edge footwear while in the UK.
Luc Fusaro, a student at London’s Royal College of Art, has designed and created a new line of footwear dubbed ‘Designed to Win’. Unlike other footwear on the market this line has been tailored for the athlete’s specific feet, which is supposed to enhance that athlete’s performance, especially sprinters.
Up until recently, having a shoe that had been custom made for a person’s specific dimensions was only reserved for the world’s highest earning sports stars, but the ‘Designed to Win’ project hopes to change all that by making these type of shoes more affordable and accessible for the masses.
By using Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), which is a 3D printing technique that uses a high power laser to fuse small particles of plastic, metal, ceramic, or glass powders into a mass that has a desired 3-dimensional shape, Fusaro can produce a one-of-kind-shoe that has been designed around the physical features of the individual athlete, as well as, shorten supply chains, eliminate shipping costs and reduce lead times.
The process that Luc Fusaro uses seems relatively easy on paper. He will take a 3D scan of the athlete’s feet and will then proceed to use those dimensions from the scan to create the shoe. The shoe will actually be produced by using additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, and will include traction elements and shoelace features.
A shoe tailored to an individual’s feet is believed to improve their performance by up to 3.5%. This may not seem like a lot, but that performance increase can make the difference in competition.
Fusaro’s project has been based by the previous research undertaken by Loughborough University’s Daniel Toon. Toon’s Sports Technology and Addictive Manufacturing Research Group had discovered that performance could be optimized by creating a specifically designed sole units by using SLS. However, ‘Designed to Win’ is apparently the first shoe fully made with additive manufacturing.
There are still some kinks to work out with these shoes, but they should show the world the unlimited potential of 3D technologies and additive manufacturing within the sports, and general footwear, industry.
Image Source: Luc Fusaro
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