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New Balance and UK Sport
Top researchers joined forces to develop high performance sports footwear, optimised for individual athletes
- Top researchers joined forces to develop high performance sports footwear, optimised for individual athletes
Top researchers at Loughborough University in Sports Technology, Additive Manufacturing, Design Ergonomics and Human Sciences have joined forces to develop high performance sports footwear, optimised for individual athletes.
The long-term goal is to bring these customised sports shoes to everyone, which is why the project is aptly named ‘Personalised Sports Footwear: From Elite to High Street.’
The project team are working closely with New Balance and UK Sport, to develop next generation sprint spikes using pioneering additive manufacturing technologies.
The Sports Technology team quantified the effects of the sports shoe on the foot’s movement, by analysing three-dimensional motion data and force data. The data was gathered from a series of sprint related tasks performed by elite athletes wearing sprint shoes of differing stiffness and a barefoot equivalent control shoe.
A pioneering Additive Manufacturing technology, known as ‘selective laser sintering’ was then applied. Selective Laser Sintering uses laser energy to sinter small particles of plastic to create precise, complex 3D components, removing the need for expensive moulds and tooling. This enabled the researchers to easily change the properties of the footwear to match the needs of the individual athletes.
When the difference between winning and losing can be a fraction of a second, such technology could prove pivotal. The potential to boost Britain’s medal-winning prospects in major sporting events and the commercial benefits of transferring this technology to the high street have brought the project international recognition and industry awards, including a Professional Engineering Innovation Award, in the ‘Best Support for Industry by a Higher Education Research Group’ category.
Find out more
- Watch a video about the research project on the University YouTube Channel
- Elite to High Street website
- Additive Manufacturing Research Group website
A Professional Engineering Innovation Award in the ‘Best Support for Industry by a Higher Education Research Group’ category.