3-D Printing for Athletes

With 3-D printing technology developing at a rapid pace, we may soon be able to custom print almost any object we can imagine. A recent example shows how versatile 3-D printing can be.

It is the development of custom printed sports equipment for athletes. New balance has been working with a professional runner to print a custom spike plate on his track shoes to match his particular foot and running style. New balance has also been developing a technology to custom print the midsole to tailor to a runner’s weight, cushioning preference, etc. You can see how perfecting 3-D printing for sports might improve an athlete’s performance.

This particular customization was developed for a professional athlete. I see professional athletes in other sports looking to custom print their equipment as well in order to get an edge against their opponents. Cleats are sure to be custom made for any athlete that thinks it will positively affect their game. Other objects likely to be printed are tennis rackets, baseball bats and gloves of all types to improve your grip when trying to catch a football or baseball. In paralympic sports, a highly specialized prosthetic limb that is 3-D printed could easily give an athlete an advantage over another. The possibilities seem endless. Professional athletes will probably be the only customers at first because they will likely be the only ones that can afford this kind of specialization until 3-D printers are in a majority of households.