The world’s fastest marathon runner, Eliud Kipchoge, is always aware of his competitors gaining ground. So, what can he do to retain his edge? Run in the ultimate shoes, with the latest models crafted using cutting-edge 3D printing technology.
To produce these, Nike partnered with HP to reinvent the running shoe. This involved 3D printing a unique polyurethane upper part, custom-moulded to the shape of Eliud’s foot.
3D and pressure scans of Eliud’s feet influence the design of wave-like patterns of ‘Flyprint’. Each thread is less than a millimetre thick and spans the shoe’s length, printed with solid deposit modelling.
Each shoe can be printed in just 30 minutes with the ability to control the precise length, curvature and diameter of every thread. In fact, the process is so fast that the shoes can be modified, assembled and shipped to the athlete within nine days.
Both Nike and HP have been pushing the envelope of what’s possible in sprinting and endurance running with the rapid prototyping of 3D-printed shoes. Eliud’s enabled him to win the 2018 London Marathon.
Meanwhile another top athlete, Allyson Felix, has been testing specially designed Nike 3D printed spikes. These custom spikes were developed for Allyson as part of an initiative to produce custom shoes more quickly.
3D printed shoes like these are a game changer. Eliud aims to be the first person to run a marathon in under two hours and, if successful, his shoes will play a major role.