Pleko track spikes with outsole, midsole, pins and ribbing 3D printed as single unit in carbon fiber filled composite material. (Photo courtesy Miro Buroni.)
Pleko track spikes with outsole, midsole, pins and ribbing 3D printed as single unit in carbon fiber filled composite material. (Photo courtesy Miro Buroni.)

3D printing company CRP Technology has made the structural part of a new range of track shoes as a single unit using carbon fiber reinforced composite.

The functional prototype makes up the outsole, midsole, pins and ribbing of the spike shoes, made for athletes running on sports tracks, using a powder bed fusion process with Windform SP Carbon fiber filled composite material.

The engineers carried out a three-dimensional scan of an athlete's foot, followed by a biomechanical analysis of the act of running and footing using the 3D foot scan.

‘With this mapping, we were able to model the shoe on the individual’s needs in terms of foot structure and athletic performance,’ said Italian middle-distance runner Miro Buroni, who helped make the prototype. ‘Moreover, scanning and biomechanical analysis allowed us to understand the best placement of the traction system under the outsole.’

According to Buroni, the 3D printed material should have ‘strong characteristics of resistance to bending’.

‘Windform SP guarantees excellent resistance even in very thin thicknesses; this feature allowed me to create a spike shoe with a perfect foot envelopment, that facilitates an increase of the comfort and the enhancement of the performance,’ he added.

According to CRP, the rib structure made using the material embraces the athlete's foot ‘like a cage’, which envelops the foot and helps improve in the running technique. ‘The ribs are responsible for carrying the kinetic energy releases from the biomechanical movement during the track race and preventing its dispersion,’ the company said.

The sock-like upper is almost completely detached from the structure and responsible for protecting the foot.

‘Thanks to the pins under the outsole, the ‘cage’ in Windform SP allows the athlete to develop as much strength as possible, without losing energy,’ said Buroni. ‘I positioned the deepest pins in the points of superior pressure of the feet against the ground. I also put smaller studs in other parts of the outsole: these studs are on an equal basis essential for the stability of the track shoes.’

This story uses material from CRP, with editorial changes made by Materials Today.