US – Reebok has developed new software and robotics to create footwear three-dimensionally without the need for moulds.
The project, led by Bill McInnis, head of future at Reebok and a former Nasa engineer, allows the sportswear brand to realise its designs more quickly and cost-effectively than traditional production methods.
The high-rebound material, developed by sustainably minded chemical manufacturer BASF, encloses the shoe in a mesh-like structure designed to both absorb shock and provide energy return.
The process was inspired by the disruptive nature of the automotive industry, in particular Tesla, which has become renowned for its development of technological innovation.
‘With Liquid Factory, we wanted to fundamentally change the way that shoes are made,’ McInnis said in a statement. ‘We’re looking at how we can bring speed, customisation and enhanced product performance to the process of creating footwear.’
Advances in technology are seeing sportswear brands such as Reebok and adidas speed up their production methods in order to create a closer connection to the consumer market.