Under Armour has developed a “super-hybrid” trainer

Under Armour has developed a “super-hybrid” trainer

Performance footwear and apparel brand Under Armour has introduced its first 3D printed trainer, which it says is "key to the future of underfoot innovation".

UA Architech features a functional 3D printed midsole and 3D ClutchFit auxetic upper design to create what Under Armour describes as a "super-hybrid" trainer. The performance trainer, it claims, provides athletes with the ultimate stability and cushioning during intense workouts. 

It is the result of a two-year research and development process where Under Armour's innovation team studied geometric shapes, materials, and structures to create a unique yet functional midsole design. The brand's ultimate aim was to offer a training shoe that supports athletes during a variety of exercises and workouts at the gym. The final structure, consisting of an interlaced lattice design, can only be created through 3D printing. 

Autodesk Within software was used to generatively design the lattice midsole for a stable heel structure with the appropriate elements of cushioning for strength training. 

Generative design, Under Armour explains, is a pioneering technology central to the future of making things, where a computer algorithm creates structures based on desired criteria like durability, flexibility and weight. It results in complex, high-performing structures that require 3D printing to fabricate. 

The 3D printed midsole was combined with a flow-molded 3D ClutchFit auxetic upper to create a shoe that also flexes and moves with the foot to provide a precision fit. The trainer also features a thin web rubber outsole that is molded with polyester reinforcement, which allows weight reduction while maintaining traction and durability.

Printed at Under Armour's Innovation Lab in Baltimore, 96 pairs of UA Architech will be available from 18 March on UA.com and the Baltimore brand house store, retailing at US$299.99. 

The news comes as more and more athletic apparel and footwear brands try out the new technology. In November last year, New Balance revealed the launch of its first high performance running shoe with a 3D printed midsole, said to represent a "breakthrough" in balancing flexibility, strength, weight and durability. A month later, Adidas unveiled a concept shoe that included a 3D-printed midsole made from reclaimed ocean waste as part of a collaboration with sustainability group Parley for the Oceans.

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