The Sneaker Lab by Andy Chiu: Dissecting the adidas 3D Runner

Welcome to the future.

By
Footwear 
15,464 Hypes 0 Comments

It’s been awhile since I’ve written something for The Sneaker Lab. Life got in the way of something I enjoy doing, dissecting and exploring constructions and innovations in the world of sneakers.

In the last 12 months, anybody and everybody have dubbed themselves a sneakerhead and things are bigger than ever. If you’ve been around for awhile, you’ve seen the dominance of Nike challenged by both a new and familiar face in Under Armour and adidas among others. Everybody seems to have an opinion on who they feel is the best and who’s untouchable and there’s a definitive bandwagon mentality going on.

In my few pieces awhile back, the focus was predominately on hyped lifestyle sneakers. But this time around, let’s talk about both the present and the future with the adidas 3D Runner. The concept of 3D printing is a relatively new phenomenon, but it’s been adidas who have been the first to bring it to the relative masses. It’s not easy to cop a pair, but the average consumer has an opportunity to own a piece of the future. It’s a future that adidas has taken a pole position in.

The adidas 3D Runner is part of a new movement in 3D-printed toolings that has the potential to radically shift the footwear industry. Long lead times and wasted materials are things of the past. In addition, adidas has also incorporated biodegradable uppers into the equation courtesy of AMSilk. The result is an more eco-friendly shoe with an increasingly smaller eco-footprint.

AESTHETICS/DESIGN

adidas Black 3D Runner Futurecraft

The silhouette here is a familiar one as it’s based on the UltraBoost which is undeniably one of the footwear world’s most innovative and highly sought-after shoes of the past few seasons. Everything surrounding this silhouette is easy on the eyes and is rooted in performance. It’s a logical move for adidas to focus on something that represents the pinnacle of adidas performance.

The major difference between the “inline” UltraBOOST is the modified shape to the heel counter. If you look closely at the white version (from an earlier drop) and this black version), the black one has a one-piece midsole and heel counter unit while the previous white one omitted this. There wasn’t really a heel counter.

The next highly innovative part of the shoe aside from the two-piece tooling is the midsole. I’m not a 3D printing expert aside from seeing the figures people make and the guns people have printed, but achieving this level of flexibility all while being durable enough for a commercial shoe is no easy feat. It’s an artwork how the small interconnected webs of the midsole in themselves create a futuristic aesthetic. I’m mad I didn’t come up with such a simple yet pleasing design. I liken it to hearing the “Superthug” beat by N.O.R.E. and wishing it was your own beat.

CONSTRUCTION/FUNCTION

adidas Black 3D Runner Futurecraft

Focusing on the upper, this “uncaged” UltraBOOST upper has a lot more stability and support than previous “uncaged” models. The way it’s been woven was a better choice and unlike other uncaged versions like the Solebox UltraBOOST (shout out to Hikmet and his SONRA gig). Your foot doesn’t “swim” in these which may also be aided by the improved lining on the sock liner.

As stated earlier, the outsole is crafted with pure perfection. At first, when you put them on you feel as though you’re walking on eggshells because you’re unsure of the durability. But the flexibility and durability are well balanced. Even as a daily BOOST wearer, I’d have to say if you‘re used to BOOST, this is a great alternative in terms of cushioning.

On the durability front — I know of several critical product testers who were literally trying to find a way to destroy these with hundreds of miles and couldn’t. It’s a true statement and a smart move to start with performance products as a benchmark for such technology. Now the door is wide open to introduce this technology in future lifestyle silhouettes. Imagine the possibilities from adidas Originals to other performance categories.

CONCLUSION

adidas Black 3D Runner Futurecraft

It’s difficult to find a fault with these. Everything is well-thought through and by seeing the first white version and the modification on the second black version, you can be sure you’re purchasing a continually evolving performance product with a very compelling and well-established silhouette: the UltraBOOST.

Knowing that other brands are diving into similar innovations – I think this territory is well owned by the brand with the three stripes right now. Everyone else just feels like they’re following.

Some potential opportunities in the future include:

1. Customization. It will become a whole different ballgame. You’ll no longer just pick your materials, colorways, but also embroider your name within the tooling. We all have two different-sized feet even though we think they’re the same — so I could see perfectly individualized and fitted products.

2. Manufacturing process. This all part of the footwear chain will be changed which includes enhancing production lead times, logistics and carbon footprint.

3. For a brand like adidas with its countless categories and involvement, there are exponential options to multiply this concept through both fashion and lifestyle contexts as well as continually improving it on the performance front for cushioning and weight reduction.

Welcome to the future.

Andy Chiu has been an avid sneaker collector since 1991. Making the trip from his native Germany to the ’92 Olympics, he was inspired by the U.S. Dream Team’s dominating performance in Barcelona — and of course the shoes on their feet. While Chiu’s initial experiences in the professional world took him to L’Oreal and Mercedes-Benz, this love for footwear saw Chiu return to his first love. Joining the industry though adidas Originals, he introduced adidas Originals’ Consortium range in Spring/Summer 2007 as well as other highly-influential projects, including a HYPEBEAST x adidas x Solebox project at the adidas Performance Division. Soon after, he joined PUMA, heading up their motorsports business.

Right after Chiu served as German beer brand Warsteiner’s brand & creative director, he became director of adidas Originals and Actionsports in Japan.

Every insight written and stated in this article are purely his personal point of view and does NOT reflect any opinion of any other party.

You can get more information on him through his Instagram account.

Read Full Article

What to Read Next

The iPhone 7 Is Not Selling as Well as Apple Hoped
Tech

The iPhone 7 Is Not Selling as Well as Apple Hoped

Slower than expected sales.

adidas Insider Gary Aspden Reveals His Top Five Releases From 2016
Footwear 

adidas Insider Gary Aspden Reveals His Top Five Releases From 2016

You might be surprised.

Amanda Nunes Destroys Ronda Rousey in the First Round at UFC 207
Sports

Amanda Nunes Destroys Ronda Rousey in the First Round at UFC 207

But Rousey is still going home with $3 million USD.


This Toy Enthusiast Recreated a Functional Nerf Gun Using LEGO
Design

This Toy Enthusiast Recreated a Functional Nerf Gun Using LEGO

A functional mashup.

Artists to Watch Out For in 2017
Music 

Artists to Watch Out For in 2017

10 names you should keep on your radar.

Nike Gives the Air Presto Utility a New Sleek Colorway
Footwear

Nike Gives the Air Presto Utility a New Sleek Colorway

A rugged and clean iteration.

More ▾
 
Subscribe to our Newsletter

Gain access to exclusive interviews with industry creatives, think pieces, trend forecasts, guides and more.

By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Help us serve you better

We appreciate your support in allowing HYPEBEAST ads, where we can share contents from the latest fashion, to those culturally relevant. In adding HYPEBEAST to your ad blocker's whitelist, ads on our sites will show while you continue to browse.

Help Support Us

We need ads to keep the lights on and to continue providing free news to our readers. We’d appreciate your support by whitelisting HYPEBEAST on your ad blocker. That way you can keep reading all the great stories for free.

If you have already whitelisted us, simply refresh this page. To find out how to whitelist us, click the button below.

Back

Add Us to Whitelist

We appreciate your support in allowing HYPEBEAST ads. Most ad blockers have similar whitelisting steps and settings. If you need assistance, please contact us.

Adblock Plus

  1. Click on the red ABP icon in the upper right corner of your browser.
  2. Click “Enabled on this site” to disable ad blocking for the current site. In Firefox click “disable on HYPEBEAST”.
  3. Refresh the HYPEBEAST page that you were viewing.

Adblock

  1. Click the AdBlock hand icon.
  2. Click “Don’t run on pages on this domain”.
  3. A new “Don’t run AdBlock on…” dialog may be displayed in the middle of the screen.
  4. Move the “Site” slider to the right. After that, click “Exclude”.
  5. Refresh the HYPEBEAST page that you were viewing.

uBlock

  1. Click the uBlock icon.
  2. Click the large blue “power” button in the menu that appears to whitelist the current website.
  3. Reload the HYPEBEAST page that you were viewing.

Firefox Browser

Firefox Tracking Protection may activate our whitelist notice, which can be disabled temporarily for a browsing session by clicking the shield icon in the URL bar and following the instructions.

Disconnect

  1. Click the Disconnect icon.
  2. Click “Whitelist site”.
  3. Refresh the HYPEBEAST page that you were viewing.