Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) To Enable You To 3D Print Your Sneakers At Home
Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) is developing a technology that would allow customers to manufacture custom sneakers at home. According to the company, it won’t take long before that technology reaches market. Already, Nike uses the same technology in-house to produce Flyknit sneakers, and wants to extend the opportunity to customers.
The advent of 3D printers is promising to revolutionize manufacturing. Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) wants to leverage the technology to enable customers to produce shoes of their unique taste faster and more conveniently. Whether 3D printing shoes will be a cheaper alternative is up for debate, but it is sure to thrill.
3D printed Flyknit sneakers
Nike’s COO, Eric Sprunk, recently revealed how they are already using 3D printing technology to simplify the production of Flyknit sneakers. He said that they simply feed a design file with instruction into a 3D printer and wait to collect Flyknit sneakers. Soon, he said, customers will be able to do the same, either at home or at their nearest Nike store.
3D printed sneakers at Berlin Marathon
Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE)’s 3D printed sneakers have already featured at a major sporting event. At last month’s Berlin Marathon, runner Eliud Kipchoge wore 3D printed Nike sneakers during the competition. The athlete registered a personal best time during the event, although he did miss the world record. His sneakers also fell apart somewhere along the way. However, lessons were learned and Nike can apply them to make future 3D printed sneakers better for heavy-duty application.
While home-made sneakers could be a brilliant idea, but there are a number of challenges to overcome before it becomes a reality. First, 3D printers aren’t common machines at home, at least for now. Second, 3D machines aren’t cheap, and that also explains why their penetration in homes could be slow initially. Third, 3D printers don’t do a complete shoe – they don’t make sneaker soles. As such, even Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) has to attach the soles separately when producing the Flyknit sneakers. It remains unclear how customers will deal with that challenge.
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