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Fashion 3D Printing| Chinese Sneaker Brands Seeing Greater Potential of 3D Printing

With the development of 3D printing technology, Chinese sportswear brands have begun to use this technology to develop their own 3D printed sports shoes. United with Wanhua Chemical Group Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Wanhua), Peak has recently exhibited the new 3D printed sneaker "The Next" at the 2019 International Plastics and Rubber Exhibition in Dusseldorf, Germany. In addition, Anta and Li Ning have also developed a strong interest in 3D printing technology. It is believed that 3D printing technology can improve the production efficiency of enterprises and enables personalized customization to become the strongest selling point of 3D printed sports shoes in the future.

In October, Peak showcased the latest practical technology outcomes at the 2019 International Plastics and Rubber Exhibition in Düsseldorf, Germany, "The Next " which is the pair of completely 3D printed sneakers achieved by the cooperation with Wanhua Chemical.

It is reported that the material of 3D printed sneakers launched by Peak and Wanhua Chemical is called WANFABTPU, which is authorized with multiple environmental certifications from authoritative agencies such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The 3D printing material does not contain plasticizers and can be 100 % recycled. When the sports shoes are worn out, customers can recycle them and dispose of them at the retailer to achieve 100% recycling of sports shoe materials.

Hua Weiqi, executive vice president and technical director of Wanhua Chemical, claimed that through cooperation with 3D printing equipment vendors and service providers, Wanhua Chemical debugged thermoplastic polyurethane elastomers, and adopted FDM and SLS 3D printing technology to produce high-quality 3D printed uppers and midsoles.

Expect for Peak, Li Ning is also interested in 3D printing technology. Last June, Li Ning launched 3D printed sneakers “Reigniting” when attending Paris Fashion Week. The upper of the sneaker is made of transparent material and equipped with a bionic honeycomb-shaped midsole which is exactly created by 3D printing technology.

Similarly, Anta also favors 3D printing technology. Last March, Anta officially announced the introduction of Luen Thai Technology's 3D printed shoe mold equipment. Anta is currently in the process of designing and developing 3D printed sportswear products, and will release them in the near future.

Why are Chinese Sneaker Brands Becoming Optimistic about 3D printing technology?
Zhou Gang, a 3D printing technology specialist, confirmed that the manufacturing industry values production efficiency the most, and 3D printing technology can effectively improve the production efficiency for enterprises.

3D printing technology has very significant advantages in the design process. It can directly use software to input the designer's sample drawings into the printing device and quickly obtain the actual object. The entire process only takes a few hours, which greatly accelerates the speed of product introduction so as to effectively improve the production efficiency for the enterprises.

The industry report entitled "Additive Manufacturing in the Footwear Industry" released by SmarTech Analysis in April predicts that by 2023, 3D printed footwear parts, including extra insoles, midsoles and uppers, will generate more than $ 1 billion in revenue.

Presently, 3D printed sneakers are relatively expensive due to the material and technology limitation. Better quality 3D printed sneakers require better quality material and equipments, which inevitably increase production cost. Product quality and price are the most essential factors that need to be considered by customers.

3D printing technology will bring huge changes to the sports shoe manufacturing industry and will also play a pivotal role in the industrial upgrade.