Adidas continues to push the envelope on innovation.
On Thursday, the sporting goods company introduced Strung, a textile it will eventually use in running shoes.
In a blog post Thursday morning, Fionn Corcoran-Tadd, Benjamin Kleiman, Ian Hennebery and Clemens Dyckmans, the team behind Strung, explained how the product was created. They described Strung as “an industry-first textile and creation process that combines athlete data, additive manufacturing and robotics to create a lightweight upper where each thread is individually selected and data-mapped for a seamless, lightweight fit — all within one piece of material, free from inhibiting excess components.”
They said in traditional knitting and weaving processes, threads can only be set horizontally or vertically, so the textiles need additional components or material to provide flex and support. So the designers, who are on Adidas’s Futurecraft team, built a robotics machine and developed software to use athlete data to determine where each thread should be placed so a shoe can be created that will allow athletes to perform better.
As they wrote in the blog: “We wanted to make something where we could place the yarns in any direction, to go beyond what existing textile creation methods are capable of. Strung is not knitting and it’s not weaving: it hasn’t existed before.”
Adidas then used this information to create a prototype shoe targeted to the short-distance runner that it is touting as “the industry’s first entirely data-driven footwear for a specific runner profile.” The upper has a cocooned feel and fit, they said, with stiffer and stronger red threads placed at the midfoot, toe-box, and heel, and suppler yellow threads in the forefoot for flexibility.
The ultimate goal, they said, is to use this technology in a variety of categories in addition to running. The plan is to introduce the first commercial product in late 2021 or early 2022.
Futurecraft is Adidas’s incubator for innovations. Other products that have been developed there include the Adidas x Parlay shoes created from ocean plastic, and Loop, which can be ground up and recycled into new shoes.