On March 18th, a limited production run of 96 pairs of Under Armour’s UA Architech will hit the consumer market. What makes these shoes so unique? Under Armour is using additive manufacturing or 3D printing to manufacture the midsole. Although the use of 3D printing in the retail supply chain is a growing trend, the Architech is one of the first performance shoes to be manufactured with 3D components that will be offered directly to mainstream consumers.
Similar to competitive technologies such as Nike’s Flyknit, the use of 3D printing and other digital technologies is revolutionizing the way products are manufactured. The technology employed by Under Armour allows for the digital design file to be transformed into the physical component by Selective Laser Sintering or SLS. In this process, a high powered laser is used to fuse powders layer by layer into the finished component. The result achieved by the 3D printed lattice of the midsole makes this shoe light and springy, but with added stability when compared to more traditional trainers.
Click here for a video overview of Gizmodo’s trip to the Under Armour Lab.