3D printing is infiltrating the world of athletic clothing. The latest example is the Adidas 3D CMPT limited-edition 3D printed sunglasses, created using additive manufacturing. Adidas is partnering with the eyewear firm Marcolin Group to create the high-performance, one-piece eyewear. Their unique, woven appearance makes the sunglasses a standout item to wear.
The Adidas 3D CMPT are designed using a flexible nylon material created with a rubber-like substance. To keep the sunglasses from slipping while wearing them, the model contains non-slip elements on the nosepiece and the ends of the non-folding arms. Brown polycarbonate lenses with a mirror coating complete the design.
This is not Adidas’s first foray into 3D printed clothing. Adidas has spent at least five years developing its Futurecraft sneakers. They originally partnered with 3D software developer Materialise to get the exact measurement of a runner’s foot by utilizing refined 3D foot scanning technology.
Most recently, in May 2021, Adidas revealed their latest in 3D printed footwear, the 4DFWD line. Once again, they partnered with Carbon to 3D print the midsoles. Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis (DLS) 3D printing technology was used to create the first Futurecraft running shoe, the 4D. Carbon’s DLS method is a revolutionary technology using oxygen permeable optics, digital light projection, and programmable liquid resins to produce items with unique resolution, mechanical properties, and surface finish. This method permits engineers and designers to iterate faster, render projects with less risk, and categorically reimagine products by introducing programmable lattice, impossible geometrics, and consolidated parts.
Unlike the manufacturing process for the 4DFWD sneakers, the Marcolin Group is not releasing the platform of the manufacturer, considering the competitiveness of the market for eyewear. The only thing we know is that a ‘new generation’ of 3D printers was utilized to manufacture the glasses.
New Balance, partnering with Formlabs, also entered the 3D sportswear market, revamping classic shoes with a 3D printing platform in 2019. Formlabs developed a 3D printing process that uses a proprietary photopolymer named Rebound Resin. Nike has also adventured into the 3D shoe manufacturing business in a large fashion by designing a shoe with Jamaican Olympian sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser- Pryce. The Nike Zoom Superfly Elite was developed with the goal of breaking her best record.
In all instances of 3D sportswear design, the focus has been to create products that are customized for the individual wearer. Each company is pioneering different 3D printing technology and the approach to new manufacturing processes has been extraordinary. 3D printing integration is its naissance and bound to continue innovating sportswear elements for years to come.
As for the Adidas 3D CMPT, only 150 pairs will be created and to purchase them you must be a member of the Adidas Create Club when the sunglasses launch on August 23rd. Premium eyewear apparently comes at a premium price: US$415 / £300 / €350 per pair.