Climbing made easy: HP, Sculpteo and ATHOS launch the world’s first 3D printed climbing shoes

Soon-to-be-launched 3D-printed climbing shoes are a “world’s first” according to ATHO, a Spanish sportswear start-up. The upcoming range will be created with HPa global technology company and manufacturers of Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing systems, more Sculpteoan online 3D printing office.

3D printed ATHOS climbing shoes. Picture via ATHOS

“Changing the sports shoe industry” with 3D printing

“3D printing technology is changing the athletic shoe industry,” said Wayne Davey, Global Head of Go-to-Market 3D Printing Solutions, HP Personalization & 3D Printing, HP Inc.

“It was very important for us to implement additive manufacturing in an innovative way, which is why HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology is the perfect choice to create more customizable and durable products,” added Emili S. Taixés and Romina Milesi, Co-Founders and Managing Partners of ATHOS.

Davey also highlighted the benefits of 3D printing for footwear, which he says shortens “production times and [assist in] develop innovative and sustainable ideas.

Alexandre d’Orsetti, CEO of Sculpteo said: “It is a great pleasure for us to be able to be part of the manufacturing process of ATHOS short shoes.

D’Orsetti underscored this, saying, “Mass customization allows for ergonomics that seemed unattainable in climbing, and the custom-fit ATHOS liner fits the foot perfectly, providing comfort while climbing.” The co-founders of ATHOS agreed that “the benefits of customization and on-demand production help us deploy a more environmentally friendly consumption and manufacturing model”.

Assembly of ATHOS climbing shoes printed in 3D. Image via ATHOS.

How climbing shoes are 3D printed

The ATHOS control system puts the climber at the center of the design and production process. This process begins with the 3D scanning of the client’s feet, followed by 3D printing, post-processing, assembly of all parts, and finally shipping of the final product. Potential customers can register their interest in the 3D printed climbing shoes before the official launch.

HP’s proprietary MJF technology 3D printing method would quickly achieve quality part production. The process begins with applying a layer of material to a work area. In the opposite direction, blending and detailing agents are 3D printed across the entire work area in one continuous pass. This pass combines the 3D printing material with the fusion systems, and the process is then complete. HP’s proprietary architecture is capable of printing 30 million drops per second on every inch of bed width, enabling precision and dimensional accuracy.

3D printed shoes changing the industry one step at a time

The ATHOS shoe may be a world first in climbing, but in the wider world of footwear, we’ve often reported on 3D printed shoes. The star child of this additive manufacturing application is the partnership between Carbon and Adidas. The German-based sportswear brand and the North American 3D printer manufacturer started working together over 7 years ago. The resulting line of 3D printed Futurecraft shoes includes collaborations with Stella McCartney and Yohji Yamamoto.

The Carbon/Adidas line is a shining example of relatively high volume 3D printing manufacturing, other projects, like the ATHOS shoe, are either much more bespoke or lean towards exclusivity. For example, the 3D printed shoe HERON01 from Zellerfeld and Heron Preston or the Cryptide concept shoe from Stephan Henrich and Sintratec. Elsewhere, and changing the relationship between designer, manufacturer and end user, Nike and ACRONYM have made available 3D printable downloadable content (DLC) for a range of Nike’s Blazer Lows.

ATHOS has reached an important milestone by securing a place in the national final of the prestigious “James Dyson Award”, for being the first to launch the personalized 3D printed climbing shoe. The philosophy of ATHOS focuses on the combination of consumer health, innovation and personalization and has also played an important role in its success. To start production, ATHOS utilized the capabilities of Sculpteo who provided leading online 3D printing services with their presence in California and France.

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