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Athlete-specific sprint spikes created using 3D printing technology


July 3, 2012

The prototype athlete-specific sprint shoe created by Luc Fusaro using 3D printing technology

The prototype athlete-specific sprint shoe created by Luc Fusaro using 3D printing technology

With sprinting events at the elite level decided by fractions of a second, athletes are always on the lookout for anything that can provide even the smallest advantage over their rivals. We recently looked at Nike’s Pro TurboSpeed suit that is claimed to cut down a runner’s wind resistance by using golf ball-like dimples, but footwear plays an equally, if not more, important role in an athlete’s performance. Now French engineer and designer Luc Fusaro has employed 3D printing technology to create lightweight sprint shoes that are customized for individual athletes that could prove the difference between winning and losing.

Fusaro developed the sprint spikes as his final master degree solo project at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London where he is currently studying. By first scanning the feet of the athlete to create a digital 3D model, Fusano designed soles of varying stiffness before producing the physical items from sintered nylon polymide powder using an additive 3D printing technique.

He then tested the various soles in the lab to tune the mechanical properties of the shoe to the physical abilities of the athlete before again using the additive manufacturing process to produce the final athlete-specific “Designed to Win” prototype shoe that added a stiff upper and weighs just 96 g (3.4 oz).

Fusaro claims his custom shoes could improve an athlete’s performance by up to 3.5 percent, which can be the difference between claiming gold or going home empty handed at the elite level. While Fusaro’s custom shoes won’t be on the feet of any athletes at the upcoming London Olympics, we wouldn’t be surprised to see 3D printed athlete-specific shoes become the standard footwear for sprinters well before the next Olympics in Rio in 2016.

Source: Luc Fasaro via fashioning tech

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

Mass 3D printing could very well be the perfect marriage between tailor made and industrial mass production. I don't know to what extent these will be recyclable, but this sure smells of a better tomorrow.


Puts athletes from developing nations at even more of a disadvantage; money wins.

Brendan Dunphy

I used to run cross-country track, not a sprinter, but for long distances. I could be wrong, but this spiked sandal looks like it would chafe my foot raw quickly.


I wonder if there'll be a soccer shoe version. 3.5% over the course of a game could be a big deal.

MockingBird TheWizard
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