Carbon and adidas did it again: a data driven, 3D printed midsole embedded in the new adidas running shoes

It’s been four years that adidas has been developing 4D lattice midsole technology, in collaboration with Carbon.

adidas 4DFWD, the latest shoes of adidas aims to further enhance the running experience. Any runner – professional or not – knows that the midsole – the part located between the sole and the top – is the key component of the trail running shoe. Depending on its thickness and the way it is produced, it might prevent injury. Aware of these facts, adidas Running entrusted the fabrication of this important part to Carbon.

Together, they have brought customization in their production by combining athlete data and the 3D printer manufacturer’s Digital Light SynthesisTM technology. The result? A precision tuned 3D printed midsole that has been achieved based on specific patterns of movement.

In a press communication, the experts explain that the bowtie-shaped FWD CELL, made of 39% bio-based material, has been specifically coded to compress forward upon vertical impact. When compared to previous generations of 4D midsole, adidas 4DFWD generates three times as much forward motion under vertical loading in mechanical testing conditions. As a result, peak braking force experienced by the athlete during running is reduced on average by 15% as the midsole redirects these vertical impact forces into horizontal forward motion – delivering running economy comparable to that of Ultraboost midsoles in lab conditions. 

adidas 4DFWD was tested through a range of bio-mechanical testing procedures at the University of Calgary, which analysed specific areas such as forward motion, braking force and running economy. The concept was also tested extensively with adidas runners across the world via a local development team in Germany and a carefully selected cohort of high-level running creators across the USA. Furthermore, cutting edge cognitive perception testing was carried out at Arizona State University.

Sam Handy, Vice President Design, adidas Running, said: “4D technology provides us with the opportunity to design in a way that conventional foam midsoles do not allow. We took inspiration from the first generation 4D lattice midsole and set ourselves the challenge to take it to the next level, coding millions of potential lattice structures to see if we could specifically design to counter negative mechanical forces experienced during running. Working closely with Carbon, our product teams, and testers we identified one perfect lattice midsole that is designed to compress forwards under loading and counter mechanical forces whilst delivering a unique gliding sensation for our runners.”

Complementing the adidas 4DFWD midsole is a new PRIMEKNIT upper made in part from recycled polyester, providing runners with a super-lightweight premium upper that encases the foot in a seamless sock-like fit. Historical mapping data has been used to code the PRIMEKNIT upper to perfectly align with the unique properties of the 4DFWD midsole, helping to give runners all the support and comfort they need whilst on their run.

adidas 4DFWD features:

  • LATTICE CONSTRUCT: Made of 39% bio-based 3D material, offering 23% more cushioning and generating over three times as much forward motion when compared to previous generations of 4D midsole under vertical loading in mechanical testing conditions
  • MIDSOLE INNOVATION: A unique bowtie-shaped FWD CELL redirects energy from each step’s impact to create horizontal forward motion
  • PRIMEKNIT+ UPPER: Using historical mapping data, the PRIMEKNIT+ upper has been tailored to work perfectly in tune with the adidas 4DFWD midsole, supporting the runner every move forward with a sock-like fit, while letting the foot breathe freely 
  • OUTSOLE: The rubber outsole is designed to work in harmony with the adidas 4DFWD midsole, providing superior traction
  • WEIGHT: 333gr. for size UK 8.5
  • HEIGHT:  
  • Stack height: 11.3 mm
  • Forefoot stack height: 21.2 mm
  • Rearfoot stack height: 32.5 mm

Alberto Uncini Manganelli, adidas SVP and General Manager adidas Running & Credibility Sports said: “At adidas, we’re always looking to combine athlete insights with new and innovative technologies to create the best performance running products. With this approach, we aim to serve and to delight different runners with diverse experiences depending on their needs; be it to run faster, achieve personal goals, run for longer, or to feel more comfort, always bringing new and valuable benefits that runners can feel. This industry first midsole innovation positions adidas 4DFWD as our most advanced digitally printed running midsole yet and showcases the potential of 4D technology in turning physics and bio-mechanic studies into performance solutions. We cannot wait for runners to feel and experience this new product that will deliver new and exciting sensations.”

adidas 4DFWD launches in a core black and solar red colorway and will be available in limited quantities on May 15th.

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