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Outrunning the competition: New Balance to sell limited run of 3D-printed running shoes

The shoes don’t really make the man (or woman), and soon, men and women may not even make the shoes. New Balance announced today that the storied shoe manufacturer and retailer will be launching its first running shoe that incorporates 3D-printed materials, starting this Friday.

The company let slip its plans to release the company’s first running shoe using 3D printing technologies back in November.  The Zante Generate, an update on the shoe company’s Fresh Foam Zante design, will feature a midsole that is completely 3D printed. That first foray utilized industrial 3D-printing company 3D Systems’ special DuraForm TPU Elastomer material and selective laser sintering (SLS) technology to stitch the midsoles together, and involved an exclusive deal with 3D Systems. And going back to 2013, New Balance experimented with 3D printing spike plates in running shoes that were customized to improve each runner’s performance.

Related: Adidas steps into the future with its first 3D printed shoe design

Relying on this history, New Balance President and CEO Robert DeMartini asserted in a press release that, “New Balance is at the forefront of 3D printing, and has been utilizing this exciting and innovative technology to customize product for our athletes for a number of years.”

New Balance’s Zante Generate is sure to be on the radar of footwear giants Adidas and Nike, each of which has made a concerted effort to produce 3D-printed shoes over the past six months. Adidas announced the intent to create a shoe with a 3D-printed midsole the same week Nike was granted a key 3D printing patent, last October.

New Balance’s 3D-printed shoes will sell for $400 and the firm will only release 44 pairs of the shoes, in honor of New Balance Owner & Chairman, Jim Davis purchasing the company 44 years ago in 1972. The shoes will be sold at www.newbalance.com and at the New Balance Experience Store on Boylston Street in Boston starting on Friday, April 15 at 9:00 am ET.

New Balance has detailed the creation of the Zante Generate from thermoplastic powder to completed midsole, and you can check out the process here.

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