adidas has filed a patent for a method of making a sole for footwear using 3D printing technology. The sole features a three-dimensional mesh with interconnected unit cells, nodes, and struts. The process involves printing nodes with platforms and struts on a build plate to create the desired shape. GlobalData’s report on adidas gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on adidas, Footwear 3D Printing was a key innovation area identified from patents. adidas's grant share as of January 2024 was 70%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

3d printed soles for footwear

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: adidas AG

A patent application (Publication Number: US20240032649A1) describes a method for producing a sole for footwear using 3-D printing technology. The method involves creating a three-dimensional mesh structure with interconnected unit cells made up of struts and nodes. The process includes printing nodes on a build plate with platforms that have bottom and top surfaces connected by side surfaces, and then printing struts on the top platform surfaces to form the interconnected unit cells. The resulting mesh is then removed from the build surface and an outsole is attached to the bottom platform surfaces of the nodes.

Furthermore, the method includes printing a skin on the build plate with top and bottom surfaces and struts for unit cells, which are not connected to the platforms at the bottom surface of the mesh. The skin can be printed in high-wear areas based on biometric pressure maps, and an outsole can be attached to the bottom skin surfaces. The design allows for independent movement of different sections of the outsole, enhancing flexibility and comfort. Additionally, the method allows for the shaping of the bottom surface of the mesh into a curved shape before curing the structure. These innovative techniques in 3-D printing offer a new approach to manufacturing footwear soles, providing customizable solutions for comfort and performance.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.