Brooks Running, owned by Berkshire Hathaway, teams up with HP to create 3D printed running shoes.


Adidas has made a significant impact in the additive footwear market, but it seems that HP might be the real winner in this segment. Their partnership with Brooks Running has resulted in the release of the Exhilarate-BL running shoe line, which is specifically designed and tuned to groups of sizes based on runner data. This collaboration started in 2017 when Brooks relied on HP’s FitStation foot scanners to create personalized running shoes. Now, they have collaborated again to create the Exhilarate-BL series using HP’s Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) polymer 3D printing technology.

The shoes’ “3DNA” midsoles, which are printed using MJF, offer a propulsive and bouncy ride. These midsoles are designed to match groups of sizes based on runner data, providing the best cushioning and spring with each step. HP claims that the midsoles deliver higher energy return than 90% of the midsoles in running shoes on the market today. The Exhilarate-BL shoes are being released in limited numbers as a part of a test and learn program, available to Brooks Wear Testers and Brooks Run Club loyalty members who sync their wearable devices via the Brooks’ platform. This allows Brooks to access valuable runner data, such as stride lengths and cadences, to drive further improvements in future iterations of the shoes.

Nikhil Jain, director of footwear product line management and BlueLine at Brooks, expressed excitement about the partnership with HP and the potential for using 3D printing to deliver a premium, performance run experience. He highlighted how HP’s technology allows their design team to fine-tune elements of the midsole, down to the millimeter, to create a truly personalized underfoot experience. He also emphasized Brooks’ commitment to sustainability, noting that 3D printing can help reduce energy consumption and the use of virgin materials in the manufacturing process.

The collaboration between Brooks and HP represents an interesting approach to personalization. While mass customization is still a challenge in 3D printing due to the technology’s limitations, they are taking inspiration from the medical 3D printing field. In medical device manufacturing, 3D printing has been successful in offering broader size ranges than traditional production techniques, bringing products closer to personalized solutions. This approach is now being applied to footwear, bridging the gap towards true personalization.

HP’s entry into footwear production is unique in that they are exploring various applications of their technology. While adidas focuses on using Carbon’s technology for midsole production, HP has users exploring MJF for midsoles, uppers, and insoles in sports footwear, designer shoes, and everyday casual wear. Other companies, like Decathlon, Lonati Group, and Reebok, have also partnered with HP to leverage their 3D printing technology in different aspects of shoe production.

What’s even more interesting is that Brooks is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, which became HP’s largest shareholder in 2022. This further strengthens the relationship between Brooks and HP and suggests mutual benefits for both companies. It also raises the possibility that Apple, another Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary, may be using HP’s metal binder jetting process to explore steel chassis production for the Apple Watch.

In conclusion, the partnership between Brooks and HP in developing the Exhilarate-BL running shoe line demonstrates the potential of 3D printing technology in the footwear industry. By incorporating runner data into the design and using HP’s MJF technology, the shoes offer a personalized and optimized running experience. This collaboration not only showcases HP’s capabilities but also highlights the ongoing innovation and exploration within the additive footwear market.

The Rise of 3D Printed Footwear: A $4.2 Billion Market by 2025

It’s no secret that 3D printing technology has revolutionized the world in recent years. From aerospace to healthcare, it has paved the way for endless possibilities. But what about the fashion industry? More specifically, what about footwear?

Believe it or not, 3D printed footwear is on the verge of becoming the next big trend. According to a report from Additive Manufacturing Research, titled “3D-Printed Footwear 2020-2030, an Analysis of the Market Potential of 3D Printing in the Footwear Industry,” the market for 3D printed footwear is projected to reach a staggering $4.2 billion in revenues by 2025.

One company that stands out in this race is HP. Known for their expertise in 2D printing, HP has also ventured into the world of 3D printing and has emerged as a strong competitor. In fact, HP’s technology has proven to be the best at high-throughput production of end-use parts, making them a formidable player in the 3D printing industry.

But what sets HP apart from other players in the market? One crucial factor is their strategic partnership with Berkshire Hathaway, one of the largest conglomerates in the world. As luck would have it, Berkshire Hathaway is also Apple’s second-largest shareholder. This partnership gives HP a significant advantage, not only financially but also in terms of credibility and market reach.

With such strong backing and a proven track record in the printing industry, it’s hard not to bet on HP’s success in the 3D printed footwear race. Just take a look at the recent collaborations between big-name fashion brands like Ye and Dior, who have already started incorporating 3D printed parts into their shoe designs. This trend is only the beginning, and with the projected growth of the market, the opportunities for HP are limitless.

Ultimately, the rise of 3D printed footwear is an exciting development that will reshape the fashion industry as we know it. HP’s success in the 2D printing industry decades ago is a testament to their ability to conquer new frontiers, and there’s no reason to suspect that they won’t do the same with 3D printing. The future holds immense potential, and it’s crucial to stay updated on all the latest news from the 3D printing industry.

So, whether you’re a fashion enthusiast or a tech enthusiast, keep an eye on HP and the 3D printing industry. The possibilities are endless, and the rewards are limitless. Stay ahead of the curve, embrace innovation, and witness the transformation of the fashion industry through the power of 3D printing.

Original source


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