Enabled by new developments in 3D Printing and Computer Vision, footwear design company SOLS has been trying to tackle the area of orthopedics to make it easier for everyone to get around. Over the weekend, the company released it’s new ADAPTIV footwear – a conceptual project that allows the footwear designs to rapidly adapt shape as a user moves. Depending on how much of a badass you are, the shoes even light up.

As they explain in the video below, “ADAPTIV is a 3D printed shoe that utilizes a system of gyroscopes and pressure sensors to move air pressure or fluids throughout the shoe to support your body’s shifts and motions.”

How on earth they managed to fit all of the necessary components into a shoe is still unclear – or how they move the actuator fluids in the first place isn’t clear either. Is it battery-powered or do I have to pump them up before I hit the treadmill?

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Regardless, the concept is neat and certainly doable. SOLS has been a darling amongst the investor class, picking up $8.2 M over two rounds in two years. This means they have the money to push the envelope and expand the possibilities with 3D Printing. ADAPTIV was announced at the NBA All Star Weekend event, hosted by Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks (Co-founder of Melo7 Tech Partners), Katalyst Live, MADE and Intel.

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The concept certainly opens things up for footwear designers, as ADAPTIV is predicated on the assumption that mass manufacturing using 3D Printing is simply going to get cheaper and more accessible – or – that this is simply going to be a niche product for the 1% or those hardcore pavement-pounders.

SOLS’ customizable footwear sales pitch states that “With customized footwear, the athlete will be protected from common lower extremity injuries and will be able to achieve peak performance; the fashionista will be able to customize her style with every outfit.  The individual will be unstoppable.” 

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Well hey, Air Jordans don’t make me play ball like Michael. But I’ll certainly have feet that look like his!

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