February 28, 2013
Nike introduced its first pair of football cleats to feature a 3D-printed plate. The Nike Vapor Laser Talon weighs just 5.6 oz. and is designed to help athletes maintain optimal traction on football turf.
To develop the cleat, Nike designers worked with elite trainers within Nike SPARQ, as well as long-time partner and gold medal sprinter Michael Johnson. The plate is crafted using selective laser sintering (SLS) technology, which uses high-powered lasers to fuse small particles of materials into a 3D shape.
Through proprietary material selection, Nike was able to prototype a fully functional plate and traction system in a much shorter length of time than usual. SLS allows designers to engineer shapes that aren’t possible using traditional manufacturing processes. They can also make design updates within hours instead of months, so the innovation process is a lot faster.
"SLS technology has revolutionized the way we design cleat plates—even beyond football—and gives Nike the ability to create solutions that were not possible within the constraints of traditional manufacturing processes," says Shane Kohatsu, director of Nike Footwear Innovation.
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