From ocean waste to fashion via 3D printers: the case of Futurecraft 4D

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The technological ecosystem is obsessed with fashion. Tech giants like Amazon, Apple and Google have long been working hard to trace new paths in the fashion world. Suffice it to think of Apple with its smartwatches, Amazon with e-commerce and digital personal shoppers, Google with its search for innovative fabrics based on artificial intelligence.  

The interest on the part of the fashion world is reciprocated: the many technologies borrowed from manufacturing that has demonstrated creative developments include, for example, 3D printers. An illustrative example is represented by the case of Adidas, which has tried this year to turn a 3D printed product into a mass market item. We are talking about the new Futurecraft 4D, the first sneakers made entirely from ocean waste, recycled and 3D printed. Adidas plans to produce 100,000 pairs of these trainers by the end of this year.

For the (many) detractors, 3D shoes and clothes are still a sales gimmick, yet in this case there is a valid economic reason behind the decision of a fashion giant like Adidas to invest in and support this technology. Just imagine, in the not too distant future, the potential level of customisation obtained by a customer who enters a shop, jumps onto on a treadmill, measures the size of his foot and obtains a pair of custom sneakers in less than 10 minutes. These shoes would provide the maximum comfort for the simple fact that they fit perfectly. And this would be achieved whilst also paying attention to the environment.