Adidas made its intentions quite clear in 2015 with the reveal of their Futurecraft trainers, a wearable prototype sneaker built around an innovative 3D printed latticed sole. The lofty intent from conception was to eventually offer a true customization experience on a foot-by-foot basis. That concept is now a reality – albeit in very limited quantities – with the release of the Adidas 3D Runner.
Similar to the trajectory of a concept car to its eventual production line model, Adidas has altered and improved the fit and finish of their initial prototype for both durability and comfort in many noticeable ways. Most significant is the denser lattice midsole which now feels sturdier and more supportive while walking or running. The thicker “engineered 3D web structure” results in a more forgiving foot strike, while also giving the shoes a more structurally resilient ruggedness that wasn’t fully evident with the original Futurecraft model’s sole.
The Primeknit upper has been constructed with a thicker weave, while somehow also increasing breathability versus its all-white predecessor. The addition of more plump padding to the 3D Runners’ heel collar results in a significantly more comfortable fit, while on the other end, a 3D printed heel counter with a subtle topographic design integrated with the midsole both stabilizes ride and protects the shoe without the need for stitching or glue.
Overall, Adidas was able to address most every shortcoming in fit and comfort we noted in their original design, the only loss being subjectively aesthetic: the sleek minimalist profile of the Futurecraft editions is now replaced with a more diabolical presence.
Getting your hands on a pair of one of these 3D Runners at this point is probably a hopeless endeavor (unless money is of no issue and you’re willing to navigate the aftermarket). Buyers were directed last month to the Adidas Confirmed app for iOS and Android all in the hopes of purchasing online and picking up their 3D shoes from either London, Tokyo, or New York Adidas stores, and they’ve undoubtedly been all swooped up. But take solace in the fact patience will soon reward us all, and one day 3D-printed running shoes will become the rule, rather than the pricey exception.