Closeup of a lattice shoe for 3D printing

Use Case

Design Outstanding 3D Printed Footwear

Performance footwear, like so many other performance products, is pushing up against the limitations created by traditional manufacturing processes. Athletes and designers alike are constantly searching for new ways to break records, push human performance to the next level, and bring sports technology into the next era. Footwear brands are turning to additive manufacturing to amplify athletes' capabilities, to not only break records, but maintain comfort, which is critical for endurance.

Metafold 3D: a tactical advantage in Footwear design 

Pushing footwear design to the next level isn’t as simple as just throwing additive manufacturing at the problem. While the ability to create novel geometry allows for lighter footwear, this is barely the tip of the iceberg for what additive manufacturing enables in footwear performance. Novel material applications, conformally mapped lattice structures, and ideating rapidly to get to market are  essential for the competitive edge, for footwear brands, and their customers.

Conformal Mapping made easy with Metafold 3D 

Creating complex lattice structures for Additive Manufacturing is commonplace today, but creating intelligent lattice structures that both complement your design, and amplify your performance goals is challenging. Most solutions on the market will apply lattice forms with clumsy execution to your geometry, clipping the lattices at the boundaries of your design. This not only creates frustratingly slow down in design work as you’re forced to laboriously clean up everything for design integrity, but creates multiple points of failure, hurting the performative benefits being introduced. 

Metafold takes all the pain out of making beautiful, strong lattice structures with conformal mapping. Eliminate the pain of cleaning up geometries, reduce time to market, and make exploring design options a bigger part of the process.

Simulations that improve Footwear Design 

Compression behavior is critical to designing an effective midsole, with every sport scenario requiring a different set of behaviors to help amplify athletic performance. 

While Additive Manufacturing brings massive benefits to footwear design and midsole performance, the material properties of additive manufacturing require complex simulations that not only are capable of factoring non linear and composite materials, but also consider how the specific AM technology intended for use changes compression behavior. 

Metafold empowers you to explore the mechanical properties of lattice structures without sacrificing data integrity by leveraging a meshless in-app solver. Metafold's simulation approach combines an explicit, quasi-static and meshless simulation approach with fast and accurate algorithms. Efficiently obtain stress distribution at different displacements in your design work, to gain tactical insights into the predicted performance of your models prior to physical validation, and get your designs to production faster.

By leveraging the expertise of renowned material suppliers like BASF®, EOS®, and Carbon® Metafold ensures that its simulations are based on validated material models. These partnerships enable you to confidently analyze lattice structures, gaining valuable insights into their performance, to push your designs even further.

Metafold 3D Materiality: Make your design, your way 

Runners, amongst all athletes, put their feet through brutal conditions, not only demanding peak performance from their footwear, but also expect a level of comfort that helps them go for longer. Traditional midsole designs require complex composite layers to meet a fraction of the capabilities that additive manufacturing brings to footwear design. 

Metafold 3D’s features enable you to tailor material properties through the process of manufacturing, and rapidly create  variable density lattice structures to manipulate how a single material behaves just through geometric modulation. 

Using Metafold’s browser-based project interface, together with the python SDK, you can easily explore dozens (or hundreds!) of viable options for your footwear strategy and expedite the workflow from concept to shipped product. Read more about dataset generation in our article on Metafold for AI.

Get started designing your shoe parts for 3D printing.