The 3D printed shoe race is heating up as high-tech sports apparel brand Under Armor releases ArchiTech commercially available, limited edition UA 3D printed shoes which were generatively designed using Autodesk’s Within software.
In 1996 Under Armour broke into the athletic market by reinventing the humble t-shirt. Now a powerhouse brand, Under Armour is pushing the boundaries on high-performance athletic gear. So as the company approached its 20th anniversary, the UA Innovation Team looked to up the ante on the brand’s performance training footwear with the first UA 3D printed shoes.
The team wanted to design a lightweight, highly stable, and cushioning shoe to support athletes during the most intense workouts. Among the many innovations and technologies that the team brought to bear for its new UA Architech was a combination of generative design and 3D printing.
Autodesk software was critical to the team at Under Armour achieving some of the key goals for the shoe. Notably, Autodesk Within was used to generatively design the lattice midsole (3D printed by SLS technology using an unspecified flexible material) for a stable heel structure with the appropriate elements of cushioning for strength training.
Generative design is a pioneering technology central to the future of making things, where a computer algorithm creates structures based on desired criteria like durability, flexibility and weight. It results in complex, high-performing structures that human designers would never conceive of otherwise, and — as is the case with the UA Architech — requires 3D printing to fabricate. Autodesk Fusion 360 software was also integral to the shoe’s concept development and refinement.
UA Architech, The first commercially available 3D printed performance trainer, named ArchiTech. According to other web sources, Under Armor is only going to make 96 pairs of these in a very exclusive limited edition priced at $300. Not such a high price for the 3D printed shoe revolution to fully kick into production.