Late last year, New Balance announced it was working on a limited edition sneaker with a 3D-printed midsole, which would be released sometime this April. Well it's April, and that sneaker, called the Zante Generate, will be available to purchase this week. Buying a pair won't be that easy though, because New Balance is only making 44 pairs, and you'll need a cool $400 to snag one of them.
Looks like pores
To print the midsole, New Balance used a "selective laser sintering" process that converts a powder polymer into a solid, layer by layer. New Balance claims that this process gives its shoe better flexibility and durability. Then again, it's $400, and the midsole looks like somebody's pores under a microscope. Still, as 3D-printing becomes more readily available, it could give consumers more design and sizing options, and shrink production time for companies.
Several other athletic brands have been working on 3D-printed sneakers in recent years. Adidas unveiled a similar 3D-printed midsole concept last year, while Nike has tested and printed a 3D concept for football cleats. The sneakers will be available online and at the New Balance Experience Store in Boston this Friday at 9AM ET.