Nike’s New Cleats Use 3D Printing

NIke, NFL, 40, combine, football, cleat, shoes, SLSWith the NFL combine, the league’s pre-draft scouting event, upon us, Nike has unveiled their newest, lightest football cleat, the Nike Vapor Laser Talon.

At the NFL combine, college football standouts will prove their skills through a series of exercises in order to impress scouts, and hopefully lock up a lucrative, long-term contract. Among the most reported about exercises is the 40-yard dash. The exercise is pretty simple: At the sound of a whistle, the athlete will run as fast as possible for a distance of 40 yards. This dash will be timed, and like all races, the faster the time the better.

With teams across the league coveting the fastest athletes, it’s no wonder that the “40” gets so much attention. This year Nike has jumped into the fray, announcing the development of their first cleat that features 3D-printed components.

According to Nike, “Today, Nike Football debuted the Nike Vapor Laser Talon that incorporates a revolutionary 3D printed plate that will help football athletes perform at their best. In a version built to master the 40, the Nike Vapor Laser Talon weighs a mere 5.6 oz. and is specifically designed for optimal traction on football turf and helping athletes maintain their “drive stance” longer.

Nike continues, “The plate of the cleat is crafted using Selective Laser Sintering technology (SLS) and is the sport’s first 3D printed plate. SLS is a manufacturing technique using high-powered lasers to fuse small particles of materials into a 3-dimentional shape. Through proprietary material selection, Nike was able to prototype a fully functional plate and traction system within a fraction of the traditional timeframe and at a fraction of the weight. The SLS process allows for the engineering and creation of shapes not possible with traditional manufacturing processes, as well as the ability to make design updates within hours instead of months to truly accelerate the innovation process to never seen speeds.”

With NIKE adopting 3D printing technology in the development of its high-performance shoes, it’s likely that other brands will begin doing the same very soon. What these new cleats will cost we’ve yet to find out. 

Images Courtesy of Nike