How 3D printing is slowly changing footwear

It’s starting to be difficult to talk about innovation without mentioning 3D printing. The hype about this technology keeps increasing as many believe it will impact the way society and companies work
What you have to know about 3D printing

The first thing companies should know is that 3D printing is still at an early stage of development. Although it’s already possible to perfectly design and print footwear using 3D printers, it’s still not affordable to do it on a mass scale.

Nonetheless, several brands, such as adidas and New Balance are already selling 3D printed shoes or at least shoes that were partly made in those printers. But right now, creating and selling these shoes is mostly a marketing strategy (to create buzz) or a way to slowly force companies adapt to this new technology.

The major benefit is for the consumer

What some companies do not understand is that the reason why 3D printing will be huge in the near future is that it allows companies to offer consumers something they have been searching for: personalization.

With 3D printers footwear companies will be able to offer their customers the perfect fit. Besides that, consumers like to differentiate from each other, and the best way to do it is to personalize products, such as what they wear every day, or the tools they use in their life. That’s why footwear offering this option thas had huge success. Nike, for instance, has a whole platform developed where customers can choose the colors and details of their sneakers, before ordering.

The barrier to personalization is that it’s usually very expensive, as production lines are definitely not ready for inserting customized details in products. As a consequence, customers have to pay a high price to have it. 3D printing has the potential to change that.

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